Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats
The past weekend’s good weather tempted a group of jet-skiers who subsequently ran into difficulty in Clew Bay, as The Irish Times reports.
Achill Island RNLI launched its lifeboat on Saturday evening (25 April) to reports of three men on personal water craft needing assistance between Newport in Rosmoney — waters considered treacherous for even the most experienced of mariners.
All three were towed to Rosmoney with a locally owned RIB in an operation that also involed the Irish Coast Guard and An Garda Síochána.
Gardai also mounted further patrols of Lough Derg, where earlier this month they had exercised their emergency powers to warn inland waterways users to stay at home as measures to control coronavirus remain in place.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
The alarm was raised after the skipper of the fishing vessel made contact by VHF radio to report that a rope was fouled in the vessel’s propeller and they had lost all propulsion.
The lifeboat crew located the drifting fishing vessel 30 minutes after launch, nine miles north-east of Wicklow harbour. Conditions on scene were calm, with light wind and good visibility.
A towline was quickly established, and a course was set for Wicklow Harbour where the fishing vessel with its four crew was brought safely alongside the South Quay as darkness fell shortly before 9.30pm.
The lifeboat crew on the callout were coxswain Nick Keogh, mechanic Brendan Copeland, Tom MacAulay, Carol Flahive, Connie O’Gara and Matt Doyle.
The call came after the volunteer crew of the station in north-east Scotland were forced to break self-isolation and launch their inshore lifeboat yesterday (Tuesday 14 April) following reports of a surfer in difficulty at a local beach.
The crew of three mustered quickly and launched the D-class lifeboat Buoy Woody 85N shortly after 3.30pm and reached the scene around 15 minutes later.
The surfer had been reportedly having difficulty getting back on his board and swimming ashore.
However, by the time the lifeboat arrived, the surfer was on his board and in no immediate danger. After speaking with the lifeboat crew, the surfer made his own way ashore.
Bill Deans MBE, operations manager at Aberdeen lifeboat station, said he was disappointed his crew had to expose themselves to risk in this way.
“Like most people, our volunteer lifeboat crew members are self-isolating at home in line with [UK] Government guidelines – mostly doing their day jobs remotely.
“But they are always willing to set aside their own concerns to respond if the call comes that someone is in danger at sea.
“There is no way a lifeboat crew of three can maintain two-metre separation aboard a five-metre long lifeboat – and if they had required to pull someone from the water, the infection concerns are obvious to all.”
Deans added: “I have every sympathy with people who would like to use their daily exercise period to swim, sail, surf or whatever — but on behalf of every lifeboat crew member in the UK and Ireland, I have to appeal to them not to put our crews at indirect risk by going into or onto the sea.
“Stay safe ashore, protect the emergency services and save lives.”
While the community was shining a light in support of frontline workers this past Easter weekend, Arklow RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew were making their way to the lifeboat station following reports of a distress flare being sighted off the coast.
Pagers were activated at 10.20pm on Saturday night (11 April) and within a few minutes Arklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr was launched and under way.
Initial reports suggested the sighting was south of Arklow. With a number of fishing vessels working in the area, the lifeboat crew checked with them; none were in distress but they reported a sighting further north.
The Arklow lifeboat proceeded on a track north with full beam searchlights and all hands searching the darkness. With nothing yet located it was decided to deploy two white illumination flares to aid in location of any potential casualty vessel or persons.
Later in the search, the lifeboat crew were joined by Rescue 117, the Irish Coast Guard helicopter from Waterford, who had been on scene at an incident in Wexford Harbour immediately prior, as well as coastguard shore crews from Arklow and Courtown.
Following a lengthy search by all involved and with nothing located, the operation was stood down and all hands returned safely.
Following the search, Mark Corcoran, Arklow RNLI press officer and community safety officer, said: “As always our volunteers responded quickly to the reported flare sighting. I’d like to pay tribute to all who responded and were involved in this search.
“Despite the current restrictions, all of our volunteers are continuing to put themselves on the frontline.
“This sighting may have been a Chinese lantern or indeed someone letting off a flare in good faith and while this would have been done with good intent, we would ask people to refrain from this to avoid further false alarms and the need for our volunteers to be put at risk.”
The inshore lifeboat, Terry, under helm Dave Sommerville and two other crew members, launched at 9.39am and made their way to the requested search area.
Weather conditions were favourable with a calm sea and good visibility.
The Portmuck mobile coastguard team were searching from the top of the cliffs but were unable to get a clear view of the rocks nearer the water.
A volunteer crew member was put onto these rocks, where it was safe to do so, in order to conduct a search of the area. In places it was not possible to put a crew member onto the rocks, so a shoreline search was conducted.
After searching roughly one mile north and south of the location, the decision was made to stand down by the coastguard as nothing had been sighted.
Speaking following the callout, Larne deputy launching authority Philip Ford-Hutchinson said: “The concern always for a callout of this nature is that owners will try and rescue their pets themselves and in turn get into difficulty and get hurt.
“With the current Covid-19 pandemic, we would urge people who live near the coast and wish to exercise there to be cautious and watch their footing.
“Our lifeboat remains on call and operational, but our lifeboat crew are not training with the current restrictions and the station remains closed to visitors.
“Therefore, we would advise people to stay away from the water and carry out the Government’s advice.”
The RNLI’s chief executive, Mark Dowie, said he will take a 50% pay cut to help the storm caused by the coronavirus.
And the charity that saves lives at sea is also planning to put some 30% of staff on furlough over the next few weeks.
In a statement, Dowie said: “The coronavirus outbreak is testing many charities and emergency services across the UK and Ireland, and the RNLI is no different.
“We have some reserves in place to deal with short, sharp shocks to our financial situation. However, we are all facing unprecedented times and we have seen an immediate impact not just on our frontline services, but also on our ability to fundraise which is already having an impact on our finances.
“We don’t know how long the coronavirus situation will affect us and we need to take what action we can – now and in the next weeks and months – to make sure our charity is in the best position possible to weather this storm.
“This is my watch and it’s my responsibility to make sure the RNLI is here to save lives at sea in the future.”
Dowie confirmed that the RNLI has paused its toning replacement of equipment and buildings, such as station rebuilds and building new lifeboats.
“We’re also looking at new ways to fundraise online and on social media. I’ve also made the decision to reduce my salary by 50% from now until this crisis has passed.
‘Even in these most testing of times our dedicated lifeboat crew continue to ensure our vital search and rescue service remains on service across the UK and Ireland’
“Everyone in the RNLI – supporters, volunteers, staff – are all going above and beyond to get us through these challenging times and I want to make my contribution to the charity I love, beyond my day-to-day work leading this amazing lifesaving service.
“We are also planning to put, initially, around 30% of staff on furlough over the next few weeks.
“As a charity, we have to take a pragmatic approach in these difficult times and make sure we’re focusing our supporters’ donations on maintaining our lifesaving service for generations to come.
“We will be topping up all those on furlough to full pay during April and then in May, to 80% pay if that is above the £2,500 cap set by the [UK] government.”
Dowie added: “I want to pay tribute to all our supporters, volunteers and staff. Even in these most testing of times our dedicated lifeboat crew, along with all those who support them, continue to ensure our vital search and rescue service remains on service across the UK and Ireland, ready to save every one in trouble at sea.
“They need people’s support more than ever in these unprecedented times.”
The RNLI has already paused the roll-out of its seasonal lifeguard service across Great Britain and Northern Ireland in response to the UK government’s instructions for people to stay at home.
RNLI shops and museums have been closed since 23 March and, with local fundraisers unable to hold events or collections, the charity’s annual community-based fundraising campaign, Mayday, has had to be scaled back.
Instead, the charity is looking at ways to replace cancelled events with online fundraising at rnli.org/mayday
The MV Kaami had left Drogheda Port on the evening of Saturday 21 March and was due to arrive in Slite, Sweden this weekend.
But the 90m cargo vessel ran aground in The Minch at what’s known locally as Eugenie Rock, about six nautical miles north-west of Duntulm on Skye.
Portree RNLI’s lifeboat was launched at 2.24am yesterday morning in response to a MayDay call from the MV Kaami, as did the Emergency Towing Vessel Ievoli Black and the Pharos, a Northern Lighthouse Board buoy-laying vessel.
The duty Stornoway Coastguard rescue helicopter arrived on scene, where weather conditions has a Force 8 southerly wind with a rough sea state, and began to airlift eight of the Russian crew to Stornoway. No injuries were reported.
The 26m whitefish trawler Sedulous had five crew on board when it went ashore around the north end of the island as it was leaving Scalloway Harbour for fishing grounds to the west of the Scalloway Islands, just after 3.30am.
Another local trawler, the Radiant Star, was already in the area and had offered its assistance, along with Scalloway Harbour pilot boat Lyrie.
After waiting for the tide to rise, the Radiant Star crew were successful in establishing a tow line with Sedulous, and managed to pull the boat back to deeper water before any serious damage was done.
The Sedulous was then able to return to port in Scalloway under her own steam, escorted by the RNLI Charles Lidbury, and the Aith lifeboat returned to station by 8am.
Aith RNLI lifeboat coxswain John Robertson said: “Life-threatening incidents can happen at sea at any time. So it’s important that you call for help when something goes wrong.
“I’d like to thank the crew of the Radiant Star for their safe and essential assistance this morning. Their quick, competent response was an important part of getting Sedulous and her crew back to safety.
“Local RNLI crews are always ready to respond, and I’m pleased that we once again assembled so many volunteers so quickly.”
John added: “This was our first callout since the recent outbreak of the coronavirus in Shetland, at a time when many folk are self-isolating or social distancing.
“Helping slow the spread of this virus ensures that our volunteers remain healthy, and are able to keep helping save lives at sea.”
In a statement, the lifesaving charity said: “The welfare of our volunteers, supporters and staff along with our ability to maintain our world-class lifesaving service is our priority.
“With this in mind, and given the current situation with Covid-19, we have taken the decision to close all RNLI shops, museums and visitor centres with immediate effect.
“Our lifeboat stations remain operational and we will continue to respond to those in need but will not be open to visitors.
“Our lifeboats will continue to launch to those in peril at sea.”
After putting out a ‘Pan Pan’ alert, the crew managed to get the fire under control. But in doing so, they were forced to shut down both engines and were drifting about a mile from the treacherous Ardnamruchan coast in western Scotland without any power.
Tobermory RNLI’s volunteer crew received an immediate launch page at 5.32pm and the lifeboat was underway just 13 minutes later, making best speed to the casualty vessel.
The crew passed a line to the vessel and she was towed towards Tobermory in relatively good conditions.
However, just after dropping the tow rope and securing the fish farm vessel for an alongside tow, the wind picked up significantly which made manoeuvring the much larger vessel a challenge for the lifeboat and her crew.
Nevertheless, the vessel was successfully put alongside the aquaculture pontoon in Tobermory where local coastguard rescue teams and staff from the Tobermory Harbour Authority were able to help secure her.
This was the first ‘shout’ for deputy coxswain Dave Underwood who only qualified as a coxswain in late January, and this was only his second weekend on call.
Lifeboat operations manager Dr Sam Jones said: “We’re extremely pleased that the crew of the fish farm vessel managed to get the fire under control so quickly and that no one was hurt.
“Given the nature of the emergency and the size of the vessel, this would be an extremely challenging shout for any coxswain, let alone a relatively new one. Dave certainly had a baptism of fire in more ways than one on Friday the 13th.”