Saturday, 6 February 2021

Peterhead trawler tow RNLI rescue off Peterhead.

On Feb 5, 2021, the RNLI boat from Peterhead launched tonightin treacherous conditions to assist the Opportunis PD96 which was seconds away from crashing into the rocks at Peterhead Breakwater in position 57 29 30 N, 001 46 48 W. 

The alarm was raised at 4.30 p.m. when a fishing vessel was towing another fishing vessel into Peterhead Harbour and the tow broke numerous times due to the stormy weather conditions. Tasked by HM Coastguard, the volunteer crew rushed to the Station, launched the lifeboat 'The Misses Robertson of Kintail' which was on scene within minutes. 

The casualty vessel was dangerously close to crashing into the rocks at Peterhead South Breakwater and due to an easterly gale and significant swell combined with a backwash the conditions were extremely challenging when the lifeboat arrived. However, the crew established a tow at the first attempt at 4.45 p.m. and brought the fishing vessel and its crew back to safety in tough and time critical conditions, saving the five lives onboard. 

If the lifeboat had arrived seconds later the ship would have hit the rocks and it may have been a different outcome. The RNLI crew also requested a helicopter due to the perilous situation. Once in the safety of the port, the tow was handed over to the harbour vessels 'Ugie Runner' , and 'Blue Toon'. The SAR operations were completed at about 5.15 p.m.

It was Patrick Davidson’s first shout as Coxswain. He said: “This was a really tremendous effort by the crew showing great teamwork and seamanship by all involved in really difficult conditions. If we had arrived seconds later the boat would have hit the rocks and it may have been a different outcome. 

“As soon as I saw how close she was to the rocks I immediately requested the helicopter - due to the perilous situation I realised we only had one attempt to get this right.

“The crew and the skipper of the boat could not thank the lifeboat enough and said they’d be forever grateful which makes all the effort worthwhile.

“There has been weather and flood warnings in place across Aberdeenshire today - the conditions were very dangerous but everyone worked together to ensure the safest outcome.”

Jurgen Wahle, Lifeboat Operations Manager, commended the crew for their quick and crucial efforts to save lives at sea. He said: “This was really a phenomenal performance by all involved, showcasing great leadership from Pat on his first shout as Coxswain and excellent teamwork from the rest of the crew.

“This was a critical incident and the effort from everyone on shore and at sea has resulted in five lives being saved. It is a tremendous outcome, and I’d like to commend the bravery displayed by the crew.”

RNLI Volunteer Crew members remain on call 365 days of the year, even in the current lockdown, to man the coasts and waters. This has meant adapting quickly to align with Government guidelines while ensuring they are still ready to respond when the pager sounds.