Lifeboat crew receive special commendation for 20 hour sea rescue

Lifesavers have been commended for their efforts during a 20 hour rescue operation at sea.

Members of the Aith lifeboat crew were called out in October 2021 to assist a trawler which had lost power 60 miles west of Shetland and was drifting in worsening weather.

The crew set out from the UK’s most northerly station in the Severn class lifeboat Charles Lidbury to rescue the six fishermen.

With assistance from coastguard and other fishing vessels, the rescuers managed to tow the struggling 26-metre vessel through gale force winds and heavy swell into the safety of Scalloway harbour.

By the time they were back in Aith more than 20 hours had passed.

RNLI chief executive Mark Dowie has presented a special commendation to the volunteer crew members that day – Lewis Fraser, Luke Bullough, Nick McCaffrey and Ivor Moffat – alongside station mechanic Robbie Abernethy and coxswain John Robertson.

Mr Dowie praised the determination and courage shown by the Aith crew, describing their efforts as reflecting the “very best traditions” of the RNLI.

Speaking on behalf of the crew, Aith coxswain John Robertson said: “Our volunteers turned out in poor conditions to do what they are trained to do in testing sea conditions.

“This was a lengthy but successful shout – a testament to the skill and tenacity of the Aith crew, and the excellent partnership working at sea.

“We are all pleased to have our efforts specially recognised by the RNLI, which is a charity very well supported in Aith – and all across Shetland.”

The awards of commendation were presented to crew members over the festive period at the Aith lifeboat station’s annual social evening.

Lifeboat crew played darts, cards, pool and table football against the wider community in competition for the “Snolda Shield” – named after a former RNLI lifeboat stationed in the village.


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