[12.45 update below] The Norwegian owned Nassau registered cargo ship, MV Fri Ocean, which grounded heavily on rocks south of Tobermory at 06.00 yesterday morning, is just now, 10.00, anchoring in the Lynn of Lorne, north of Oban Bay.
At 20.30 last night, her Master told Stornoway Coastguard that he had managed to refloat her on the tide, had made temporary repairs and was proceeding south through the Sound of Mull, at slow speed and under instructions, for an anchorage at Oban.
Tobermory Lifeboat stayed with her protectively all night and at 09.15, when they were off Oban Bay, Oban Lifeboat came out to meet them and the two RNLI lifeboats escorted Fri Ocean to the anchorage. Theyare now getting her anchored in the Lynn of Lorne.
Fri Ocean is carrying a full cargo of wood chip and a deck cargo of timber on passage form Beflast to Varberg in Sweden.
What happens now?
Her owners and the MCA will first need to know the nature and extent of the damage to her hull, which will need to be surveyed. There will have to be inspections, possibly by both the Classification Society and the MCA. Those inspections will determine what happens next. Her owners will obviously be keen to get her cargo to Sweden, since they will not be paid until it is delivered; but she will not be cleared to travel until she is safe, even if it is for a single passage to Varberg.
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch [MAIB] will need to establish what happened in the her grounding on Mull, a fairly dramatic T-boning leaving her 30 yards up the beach. The MAIB are likely to wish to conduct interviews on the matter as soon as possible and these may take place on the boat while she in the Lynn of Lorne.
She is unlikely to be on the move for a few days.
Update 10.20: The Tobermory lifeboat has had a long and dutiful shout. She and the Oban lifeboat are still with the Fri Ocean and AIS shows the SAR craft, MCA Hunter, approaching the group from the NE.
Update 11.00: MV Fri Ocean now seems to be on the way into Oban Bay so the diversion into the Lynn of Lorne may have been to clear marine traffic in the bay at the time. She is now off Dunollie, wiht Tobermory lifeboat in company, Oban lifeboat ahead to starboard off Kerrera keeping the passage clear and MCA Hunter guarding the southern entrance to the bay from the Sound of Kerrera.
Update 11.15: MV Fri Ocean seems to be in the process of anchoring off the headland on Kerrera, south of Oban Marina on the island. Both lifeboats remain in attendance for this process. MCA Hunter is moving up to join the group.
Update 11.37: MV Fri Ocean is now at anchor. The Tobermory Lifeboat is moving out of Oban Bay on her way home after a very long shout; MCA Hnter has gone into the North Pier; and Oban Lifeboat is moving south into the Sound of Kerrera at 7 knots.
Update 12.45: Tobermory Lifeboat – the Elizabeth Fairlie Ramsey – is just into her berth in Tobermory Bay – after a shout that will have been over 30 hours long. For some of the crew, this has been on top of a very long stint on Thursday, scrubbing the bottom of the lifeboat. Well done to coxswain and crew. The snail’s pace of the 12 hour passage through the night will have been very testing for concentration and the boat has done an impeccable job, staying on duty until the casualty was safely at anchor. There are some great photographs on her facebook page here.
For information on what happens next, see above.
As well as establishing the nature of the damage to the ship, there are a lot of questions to be answered on what led to the strange grounding; and questions on what the Fri Ocean was doing heading north out of the Sound of Mull last night, after making temporary repairs and getting herself refloated and before turning back down the Sound of Mull to Oban.