Emergency tow rescues fishing vessel off Orkney

The crew of Scotland's only emergency Coastguard tug has helped rescue a stricken fishing boat drifting in gale-force winds.

Picture: Marine Traffic
Picture: Marine Traffic

The 89ft (27m) Russa Taing broke down to the west of Westray, Orkney, and repeated attempts by two vessels to secure a tow failed.

The Coastguard Emergency Towing Vessel (ETV) crew then took over the rescue and managed to fix a line on the Kirkwall-registered fishing boat and tow the seven-strong crew to safety.

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Severe weather hampered the operation and the boats arrived in Kirkwall shortly after 7am on Friday, around 13 hours after the alarm was raised.

A Coastguard spokesman said: “The vessel broke down and requested assistance because they were drifting and the weather was bad.

“Another fishing vessel, the Kila, attempted to tow it but they were unsuccessful because the towing cable kept breaking.

“The Stromness lifeboat, which had been standing by, was also unsuccessful and the Coastguard ETV then took over the tow and they arrived in Kirkwall this morning.

“It was a gale-force wind at times with quite a rough sea. The weather made the journey very slow and uncomfortable.”