A rescue tug with the HM Coastguard managed to get a drifting cargo ship under tow overnight off Scotland’s Isle of Lewis despite severe weather conditions reported up to Force 10.
The HM Coastguard said it received a call from the MV Fame reporting that it had lost power to its engine and was drifting just 1.2 nautical miles off the Isle of Lewis, posing a grounding threat.
Despite winds ranging from Force 8 to Force 10 and a swell of 6 to 8 meters, the five crew onboard the freighter managed to deploy both anchors to try and stop the vessel from running aground while awaiting help from the Coastguard and RNLI. A Coastguard helicopter was sent to provide assistance in the event that the crew had to be evacuated, but the vessel drifted clear of rocks and into more open water.
The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency-contracted Emergency Towing Vessel ‘Ievoli Black’ arrived on scene overnight and crews were able to establish a tow this morning despite the heavy weather.
The Scottish Environmental Group and Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) are being updated on the incident and the Secretary of State’s Representative (SOSREP) for Maritime Salvage is continuing to monitor the situation.
“We are continuing to monitor the situation to avoid any risk to the remaining crew and damage to the vessel,” said HM Coastguard Commander Peter Davies. “The five crew currently onboard and the RNLI All Weather Lifeboats have been battling bad weather conditions all night to keep the vessel from grounding and we have so far managed to stabilise the vessel from drifting further. The vessel is currently 6nm from the Isle of Harris and we just established a tow this morning so the vessel can be taken to a safe shelter away from the prevailing weather conditions. We will provide further updates as we receive them.”