(Updated below) In the early hours of this morning, Yeoman Bontrup, damaged at Glensanda Quarry in a serious onboard fire, was towed to a safe anchorage out of the shipping lanes and is lying in the mid channel, south of the entrance to the Lynn of Lorn, between the south end of the Isle of Lismore and Dunbeg on the mainland, where it turns sharp east in the outer entrance to Loch Etive.
- Anglian Sovereign, the Coastguard’s offshore tug, is stopped dead at that point.
- A new tug, Keverne is with her, at the same point and making no headway.
We’re working remotely from AIS and of course Yeoman Bontrup’s transponder has long been switched off in this incident, so it is not visible.
It looks, though, as if she has been taken to this safe anchorage, while work continues to prepare her for towing to a yard for repairs – and that these tugs have just anchored her there.
The two Svitzer tugs are surplus to current requirements and are heading home.
- Musselwick is now (07.25 10th July) south of the South Rock Light and coming up to the entrance to Strangford Lough, off to starboard.She’s heading home to Milford Haven.
- Anglegarth is east of the north end of the Isle of Arran, making her way towards the narrows between the south end of Bute and Little Cumbrae on her way back to her berth at Greenock.
The tug Keverne is in the JP Knight fleet, the oldest tug and barge company in the UK and the first in the world to be fully certified to the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention. This last point will have been important in Keverne’s selection as part of the operation to move Yeoman Bontrup.
Keverne came through the Pentland Firth to join the SMIT Salvaage led operation. She will have come either form Ivergordon in the Firth of Cromarty or from Lowestoft.
Update 13.00 10th July: The photograph at the top shows Yeoman Bontrup at anchor at the time of this update, south of the entrance to the Lynn of Lorn, taken from Dunstaffnage, north of Oban, with the hills of Mull in the background.
The second shot – immediately above – shows her burned out accommodation block – which seems to have burned from the outside in rather than form the inside out. This supports speculation that the unusually close proximity of the conveyor which went on fire – and its A-frame assembly – to the accommodation block may have carried the fire to this block. It is certainly devastated.
We drove a round trip of 100 miles and walked three miles to check that she was definitely here and to get the shot to prove it. Working only from AIS and with no signal from Yeoman Bontrup herself had been a nervewracking business. All you see are tugs.
As luck would have it, all the fairly straightforward vantage points we’d expected to see her from showed us empty water. Trudging on and on we became more and more sure wed have to go back and correct this story – but logic kept insisting that she had to be here, that the evidence we’d put together could mean nothing else.
Finally, and, without knowing it, having gone the long way around to a point where she could be seen, we had a Gotcha moment.
Full details of the story, through its various stages to date- including information on the probable cause which has not been published anywhere else – is on our running story: Serious fire on Yeoman Bontrup at Glensanda