[Updated below 08.00 21st May] At this moment, 22.45, 20th May, Oban’s RNLI lifeboat, Mora Edith MacDonald, is assisting the cruise ship Serenissima which went aground whilst entering Oban Bay this evening.
The 87 metre cruise ship with 112 people on board was entering Oban Bay at 18:30 this evening when it ran aground on the Corran Ledge.
She is currently aground at the bow but still afloat at the stern.
The initial attempt at refloating the ship used its own engine with the lifeboat providing assistance by pulling at the stern. Unfortunately this attempt was hampered by a strong wind blowing the ship towards the shore, and was unsuccessful.
The lifeboat is now working with the crew of the ship to refloat it at a higher state of tide. Following this second attempt more details will be released.
Update 08.00 21st May: As we reported in a later story in the small hours this morning, Serenissima was refloated and had, at 01.29this morning, got herself anchored off Kerrera, outside the deep channel used by the CalMac ferries.
The Oban Lifeboat Press Officer reports this morning that: ‘…by midnight the tide had risen sufficiently to allow a second attempt to refloat her to be made. A towline was passed to the ship’s starboard stern quarter. The lifeboat initially took the strain very slowly but, due to wind, repositioned the towline to the bow of the lifeboat to allow for more manoeuvrability. At 00.55 she started to move. The lifeboat kept a strong pull to keep the cruise ship’s stern off the shore. Using the cruise ship’s own bow thruster and engine she got clear .The lifeboat then returned to station.’
Note: The photographs accompanying this piece, provided by the Oban Lifeboat Press Officer, Iain Fulton, are reproduced courtesy of local photographer Stephen Lawson and Oban Lifeboat respectively.