Trawler is towed to safety in 20-hour rescue operation

Aith Lifeboat volunteers spent 20 hours at sea yesterday (Friday) helping to recover a whitefish trawler which had lost power and was taking on water in winds gusting up to gale force eight.

RNLI Charles Lidbury was launched at about 7am to go to the aid of the 26-metre Banff-registered trawler, which had six people on board.

The crew made their way 50 miles west of Scalloway to assess the situation while the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s rescue helicopter landed extra pumping equipment on board the stricken trawler to help clear its hold.

The lifeboat arrived alongside the trawler at 9.50am, and a fishing vessel, the Kirkwall-registered Aalskere, managed to establish a tow line shortly after. 

The Lifeboat crew shadowed both fishing vessels safely back to harbour in Scalloway by 11.45pm.

Aith Lifeboat coxswain John Robertson said: “We’re grateful to the vessels nearby who responded to this incident: the oil industry standby vessel Grampian Dynamic and nearby trawler Norlan worked with emergency services and RNLI volunteers to offer standby safety cover. 

“Special thanks go to the crew of the Aalskere for helping tow the broken-down vessel to safety. This has been a lengthy rescue operation for everyone concerned, with testing sea conditions, but effective teamwork has ensured the safety of all involved

“My thanks also to our RNLI volunteers who came out in poor conditions and did what they are trained to do – only getting home again at 3am.”

The stricken trawler is taken under tow to Scalloway. Photo: RNLI

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