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.”