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Emergency services / Praise for lifeboat and helicopter crews

A photo that exemplifies the commitment and dedication of the volunteer lifeboat crews: Lerwick lifeboat heading into a howling gale to assist a Danish trawler with engine problems in October last year. Photo: Ryan Leith/RNLI Lerwick
Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart.

BOTH of Shetland’s parliamentarians have praised the dedication and commitment of lifeboat volunteers and helicopter crews in last week’s challenging conditions.

MSP Beatrice Wishart has lodged a parliamentary motion at Holyrood commending the Lerwick RNLI lifeboat crew for rescuing the 17-metre Danish trawler Westbank and her three-man crew during an 18-hour callout in appalling weather conditions.

“The efforts of the Lerwick lifeboat crew in extremely challenging conditions ensured the Westbank and her three-man crew were brought to safety,” she said.

“I know I wasn’t alone at looking repeatedly at the app on my phone to plot the progress of the rescue and thankful to see the lifeboat return safely to Lerwick Harbour last Friday morning.

“I can only imagine what the crew and their loved ones onshore were going through during those long hours.”

Lifeboat out for 18 hours to tow Danish fishing boat to safety

She added: “The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charity that is close to the hearts of those of us who live in island and coastal communities.

“It relies on volunteers who don’t hesitate to answer a shout, and I thank all RNLI volunteers for giving their time, energy and skills to save and protect others at sea.”

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael.

Meanwhile, speaking during a ministerial statement on the impact of Storm Babet in the Commons earlier this week, isles MP Alistair Carmichael said lifeboat volunteers and coastguard helicopter crews deserved gratitude and commendation.

Referring to the tragic consequences of the storm in parts of country, he said: “The loss of life, however, could have been so much worse but for the willingness of others to put themselves in harm’s way.

“In Shetland, the Lerwick lifeboat was at sea for 18 hours, in atrocious conditions to save the lives and the boat of the Danish trawler Westbank.

“The coastguard helicopter airlifted 45 workers from the Stena Spey offshore drilling rig.”

The MP also warned against proposals to quadruple the response time for the Shetland coastguard helicopter.

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