Coastguard begin towing ship that lost power to safety

A coastguard tug is en route from Kirkwall in Orkney. Picture: TSPL
A coastguard tug is en route from Kirkwall in Orkney. Picture: TSPL
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A coastguard tug has begun towing a merchant ship to safety after it lost power near the Western Isles on Thursday night.

The five-strong crew of the MV Fame raised the alarm at about 5.30pm on Thursday after an engine failure near the Isle of Lewis.

Despite battling strong gale-force winds and swells of up to eight metres, the sailors deployed both anchors to try and stop the vessel from grounding while waiting for assistance.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency search and rescue helicopter, based at Stornoway, and the RNLI Stornoway and Leverburgh lifeboats were sent to the scene.

A lifeboat stood by the ship overnight, but the crew did not want to leave their vessel and remained on board.

The helicopter was prepared to evacuate crew if needed, but the ship drifted clear of rocks.

Patrols of the area were also carried out by an emergency towing boat.

The coastguard’s ‘Ievoli Black’ arrived at the scene and established a tow early on Friday morning.

It set off at around 10am on the journey to Stornoway on Lewis, facing four metre swells on its journey.

It is expected to arrive there on Saturday morning.

There were no reports of any injuries.