Tobermory Lifeboat crew commended for 31 hour shout to grounded cargo ship

 Tobermory lifeboat alongside Fri Ocean by Dr Sam Jones © RNLI

Tobermory RNLI’s volunteer crew have been commended for their ‘commitment, perseverance and professionalism’ in carrying out a marathon 31 hour rescue mission to a cargo ship – the MV Fri Ocean – aground on the east coast of Mull in the summer. [The story of this prolonged  shout - on 14th and 15th June 2013, is here.]

The RNLI’s Operations Director, George Rawlinson, singled out the station’s full time Coxswain and Mechanic for particular praise. Tobermory Coxswain Andrew McHaffie is commended for ‘his leadership and co-ordination of resources’ during the rescue operation. Station Mechanic Jock Anderson, who was on board throughout the 31 hour ‘shout’, is praised for ‘his guidance on board the casualty vessel in protecting the crew of both vessels from the dangers of CO2 poisoning’.

The rescue operation – the longest in the station’s history – began early in the morning of 14th June when Tobermory’s Severn class lifeboat, Elizabeth Fairlie Ramsey, was launched shortly after 6am to go to the aid of a 90 metre cargo vessel hard aground two and a half miles south of Tobermory. The volunteer crew assisted the crew of the vessel with pumping operations for much of the day and then stood by awaiting an opportunity to refloat the vessel. That evening the vessel was successfully refloated and was escorted to the shelter of Salen Bay until first light with Tobermory lifeboat standing by.

The following morning, Tobermory lifeboat escorted the cargo ship to Oban and working with Oban RNLI’s lifeboat, the vessel was safely anchored in Oban Bay for further investigations and a damage assessment to take place.

In his letter of commendation, RNLI Operations Director wrote: ‘The crew demonstrated excellent teamwork and perseverance during a long service with several crew changes and I commend the commitment, perseverance and professionalism of all involved.’

Tobermory RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Ian Stevens said: ‘This rescue operation was not only the result of first rate teamwork but also demonstrates the commitment of our volunteers who give up so much of their time to save lives at sea. I’m also pleased that Andrew and Jock’s outstanding commitment has been recognised by the RNLI.’

Note: The photograph above shows the Tobermory lifeboat alongside the stricken cargo ship, Fri Ocean. It was taken by volunteer crew member and station Press Officer, Dr Sam Jones, © RNLI.

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