Lifeboat and helicopter called out in high winds after false distress call

Aith lifeboat and the coastguard rescue helicopter were called out this morning in winds up to storm force 10 after a distress call was transmitted from a boat near Brae.

After a search the emergency turned out to be a false alarm from the mussel boat Steadfast after water got into its digital selective calling (DSC) receiver, setting off an automatic warning.

Shetland Coastguard watch manager Sandy Wylie said the distress message identified the vessel as the Irish fishing boat Lunasa in Busta Voe because the DSC was still registered to the boat’s previous owners. He said coastguard colleagues in Ireland were able to advise that the boat had been sold to Shetland owners Blueshell Mussels.

Meanwhile, the south-easterly gales have affected inter-island ferries, with all sailings to Skerries cancelled today and services to Whalsay suspended.

Yell Sound has only one vessel operating but Bluemull Sound and Papa Stour services are operating. Bressay ferries are subject to delay when berthing into Lerwick.

The weather has caused disruption at Scatsta Airport with no flights getting in or out. All offshore helicopter flights have been cancelled due to the high winds and sea states and all fixed wing flights bringing personnel into Shetland have been cancelled.

Flights in and out of Sumburgh Airport have been operating on time but all flights from Tingwall have been cancelled.

NorthLink passenger sailings have also been badly hit by the weather at a time when only a single vessel is operating.

Last night’s sailing of Hrossey from Aberdeen to Lerwick was cancelled due to gale force winds, and as the vessel is still berthed in Aberdeen there will be no sailing tonight. The Hjaltland is currently in drydock.

Due to the weather the freight vessel Hildasay’s crossing from Lerwick to Aberdeen at 6pm tonight has been cancelled.


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