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Lerwick lifeboat launched late Friday night (15 November) to the aid of a fishing vessel which had grounded on rocks just north of the Shetland Islands harbour.

The 26-metre, Inverness-registered trawler was stuck fast and was listing when the Severn-class all-weather lifeboat arrived on scene around 1.40am.

Lerwick Port Authority vessels Knab and Kebister, and the fishing vessel Faithlie, also arrived soon after to assist.

After assessing the damage, attempts by the lifeboat crew to tow the vessel off the rocks on a falling tide were unsuccessful, with two tow lines on the lifeboat snapped in the effort. The other vessels on scene were also unable to free the trawler from the rock.

The nine crew members were taken off the stricken vessel by the lifeboat around 4am and safely returned to Lerwick Harbour, with only minor injuries, and into the care of the ambulance service.

Weather conditions were calm with light winds and a moderate sea swell, with the air temperature just above freezing.

Around 12 hours later, the lifeboat returned to the scene to assist with another attempt to refloat the vessel at high tide, just before 1pm on Saturday.

The Knab and Kebister were successful in pulling the vessel off the rocks on Saturday afternoon and took the vessel under tow into Lerwick Harbour, accompanied by Lerwick lifeboat.

Lerwick RNLI’s deputy coxswain Tommy Goudie said: “The outcome of this grounding could have been a lot worse. Thanks to fair weather and the combined efforts of ourselves and Lerwick Port Authority vessels, the fishing crew are safe, and the vessel is now safely in harbour.

“The crew did the right thing by contacting the coastguard as soon as they knew they needed help. They were wearing survival suits and life jackets and deployed their life raft in case it became necessary. Our crew are always ready to respond and we’re pleased to be able to assist.”

Published in Scottish Waters

A new cruise berthing and visitor centre at Greenock Ocean Terminal on the Forth of Clyde, Scotland has been confirmed, it was revealed today.

At its June meeting, the Glasgow City Region City Deal Cabinet approved a contribution of £9.693m from its overall £1bn pot, which is funded equally by the Scottish and UK governments.

The balance of the Marine and Landside Works will be paid for by Greenock Ocean Terminal operator Peel Ports (£8m) and the George Wyllie Foundation via arts funder the Dunard Trust (£1.5m).

The news comes as early stages of site work begins on the overall project, which is led by Peel Ports and Inverclyde Council.

The development, which is scheduled for completion in summer 2020, will boost the number of cruise ship passengers welcomed to Scotland through the successful Greenock facility.

It will allow up to 150,000 passengers per annum to pass through Greenock Ocean Terminal, delivering £26 million in annual visitor and crew spend to the Scottish economy.

In addition to the cruise berthing and the visitor centre designed by Richard Murphy Architects, the plans also include a purpose-built gallery celebrating the work of legendary Inverclyde artist George Wyllie and a restaurant with panoramic views across the Clyde.

Peel Ports Clydeport Port Director Andrew Hemphill said: “The confirmation of City Deal funding comes as the Terminal celebrates its 50th birthday. This overall investment is crucial to the remarkable growth of cruise traffic to Greenock, allowing us to create a welcoming and comfortable environment for passengers.

“Year on year, we are building a major cruise business on the Clyde and, thanks to the success of Greenock Ocean Terminal, more people than ever are taking a cruise to Scotland.

“Who 50 years ago would have anticipated the level of success we’ve had in bringing the world’s biggest container and cruise ships to Greenock? Now we are about to expand our capability further to attract thousands more visitors every year with the new development, up to 150,000 cruise passengers annually. It’s fantastic news for Inverclyde and for Scotland.”

Inverclyde Council Leader Councillor Stephen McCabe said: “The project is part of the Glasgow City Region City Deal and aims to boost the capacity at Greenock Ocean Terminal for cruise ships. The addition of a restaurant and Wyllie Gallery will help to provide a year-round attraction for visitors to Greenock and Inverclyde.

“As a key City Deal project, the new visitor centre at Greenock Ocean Terminal aims to make a significant contribution to economic growth and international tourism across the wider city region area.”

Greenock was named the top UK cruise destination, and placed in Western Europe’s top five, in the second Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards by Cruise Critic, a leading cruise review site. It has also been named as the most welcoming cruise terminal.

Published in Cruise Liners

#Windfarm - The world’s first floating windfarm is now generating power for Scotland, according to BBC News.

Afloat.ie previously covered the Hywind Scotland project, backed by Norwegian energy giant Statoil, which comprises a series of giant wind turbines tethered to the seabed off the coast of Aberdeenshire.

The 6MW, 175-metre-tall turbines in this pilot project are said to generate enough energy to power as many as 20,000 homes.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon officially opened the windfarm this week, saying it “underlines the potential of Scotland's huge offshore wind resource and positions Scotland at the forefront of the global race to develop the next generation of offshore wind technologies.”

Recently a tidal power station in the far north of Scotland announced it had broken the world record for electricity generation, as The Independent reports.

The company behind the MeyGen project say they generated 700 megawatt hours of energy in the month of August from its more than 250 turbines installed on the sea bed in the Pentland Firth between Orkney and the Scottish mainland.

Published in Power From the Sea

#Surfing - “It was just… nothing. There is only blackness.”

That’s how Scottish surfer Matthew Bryce describes his terrifying ordeal adrift on his board in the North Channel for 32 hours.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, the 23-year-old recently returned to Campbelltown in Argyll a month after what was supposed to be a morning riding the waves turned into a nightmare.

The young man was finally rescued from the sea off Northern Ireland on 1 May, more than a day after getting pulled away from the shore, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Bryce expressed his appreciation to the local RNLI and coastguard teams, who worked with their counterparts in Northern Ireland to search the sea by boat and air.

He also appealed to anyone else going surfing to avoid the mistakes he made in surfing alone, without GPS or means to contact anyone on shore.

The Belfast Telegraph has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing
Tagged under

#Missing - RNLI lifeboats from Bangor and Donaghadee have joined the search for a speedboat with two men missing off the Scottish coast, as BBC News reports.

Coastguard volunteers from Bangor are also part of the emergency operation launched last night (Saturday 6 May) when the two men failed to return to Port Logan in Dumfries and Galloway.

Searches for the missing vessel, thought to be an 18ft black Fletcher speedboat, are concentrated off the Mull of Galloway for the time being.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#RNLI - Portrush RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew got an early callout yesterday morning (Sunday 5 March) on reports of a cruiser with three on board that had got into difficulties 33 miles offshore just south-east of the island of Islay in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides.

Weather conditions were described as ‘perfect’ with a bright morning pagers went off at 10.10am, and the crew were quickly underway at full speed due the favourable sea conditions.

When the lifeboat crew reached the vessel, a towline was quickly attached to the cruiser and it was taken under tow to Portrush at a slow and steady rate of six knots. The lifeboat crew returned to base by 4.30pm, six hours after launch.

Portrush RNLI lifeboat operations manager Robin Cardwell said: “This was a textbook exercise for the crew, and something they train for all year round. The good weather conditions assisted the recovery and good progress was made for home.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#OilRig - Tugboats from Smit Salvage have tugged the 17,000-tonne Transocean Winner free during high water levels and will be taken Broad Bay on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland until it can be transported to a repair facility.

 
The Transocean Winner ran aground on the Isle of Lewis off Scotland’s west coast on August 8, after breaking its tow lines in high winds during transportation from Norway to Malta.
 
The Smit Salvage teams tugged the boat free during high water levels on Monday night.
 
The 17,000-tonne semi-submersible rig will be towed to Broad Bay on Lewis and will remain there until it is in a stable and fit condition to be towed or transported to a suitable repair facility.
 
For much more on the efforts to refloat the oil platform, click here
Published in News Update

#OilRig - BBC News reports that a 17,000-tonne oil rig has run aground at Scotland's Outer Hebrides after storm-force winds battered the area on Monday (8 August).

The drilling platform Transocean Winner was under tow when it was blown onto the beach at Dalmore in the north of the Isle of Lewis in Scotland's Western Isles, more than 300km north of Malin Head.

No personnel were on board the rig at the time, but due to the presence of significant quantities of diesel on board, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is keeping watch for any potential pollution hazard.

BBC News has much more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
Tagged under

#Coastguard - Five people were rescued as their boat sank under them between Ailsa Craig and Girvan in the Firth of Clyde last night (Saturday 6 August).

Belfast Coastguard received 999 calls just after 6.40pm from the men on the small boat, reporting they were sinking but only an approximate location on the coast.

The coastguard rescue helicopter from Prestwick and Girvan Coastguard Rescue Team were sent to search, while Girvan and Campbeltown RNLI lifeboats were requested.

Coastguard co-ordinators at Belfast also received help from the Irish Coast Guard, who tracked a precise location for the position of the casualty’s mobile phone.

The coastguard helicopter arrived on scene and prioritised winching two people from the vessel who weren’t wearing life jackets.

At this point the vessel sank in rough water, and the three others were rescued from the water and winched into the helicopter.

The five men were landed nearby and met by Girvan Coastguard Rescue Team, who found them to be safe and uninjured.

Published in Coastguard
Tagged under

#Search - Two bodies have been found in the search for the missing crew of a fishing vessel that sank off Scotland's Western Isles early yesterday (Saturday 9 April).

One crew member was taken to hospital by helicopter as UK Coastguard teams from Stornaway and Prestwick joined the Barra RNLI lifeboat, local fishing vessels and Police Scotland in the search and rescue operation for three missing crewmates, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

One fisherman remains missing after two bodies were recovered yesterday afternoon off Mingulay. Next of kin are aware and police officers are in contact with the families.

Mark Rodaway, national maritime operations commander for the UK Coastguard, said: “Despite an intensive search including the helicopters, lifeboat and other fishing vessels in the area, we have been unable to locate the missing fisherman. Our thoughts are with all those involved.”

Chief Inspector Alastair Garrow of Police Scotland said: "At this time we can confirm that the bodies of two men have been recovered. A third man was rescued and was taken to hospital at Stornoway. He is not seriously injured.

"A fourth man was on the boat and is still missing. The next of kin of all the men have been informed.

Chief Insp Garrow added: "An investigation will be carried out in parallel with the police and the Marine Accident and Investigation Branch (MAIB) and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

"This has been a tragic incident which will impact on the local community. Our thoughts are with the families affected."

The search has now been scaled back pending further information.

Published in Rescue
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