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MV Caledonian Isles was delayed last Thursday when the roll-on, roll-off passenger vessel took on a slightly different role, that of a rescue vessel, when it went to the assistance of a yacht that had issued a Mayday call near Ardrossan.
In difficult weather conditions, Caledonian Isles responded to the Mayday call, along with the Ardrossan Coastguard Rescue Team, the Troon RNLI and the Coastguard helicopter, Rescue 199 from Prestwick, before being stood down by the Coastguard.
In their second callout for the day, the Troon RNLI were alerted by the Belfast Coastguard shortly after 4pm of a Mayday call from a 37ft yacht – with two people on board – which had suffered from machinery failure near Ardrossan and which was drifting inshore owing to the weather conditions.
The RNLI Trent class lifeboat was once again launched and while on route, information came through that the casualty vessel was at anchor north of Horse Island. Once on the scene, and after consulting with the crew onboard, it was decided due to the sea conditions, that the vessel would remain at anchor and the two people on board would be transferred to the lifeboat.
The all-weather lifeboat was manoeuvred alongside the casualty vessel and the two crew were successfully transferred to the lifeboat. With the casualties on board, the lifeboat then headed to Ardrossan harbour where the crew were transferred ashore to the waiting Coastguard team.
The Troon lifeboat then returned to Troon where it was once again made ready for service with the assistance of the shore crew. The stricken yacht was left at anchor for the owners to recover when conditions improved.
A spokesperson CalMac said: ‘The Caledonian Isles responded to the Mayday call and stood by the vessel to support it until the Troon lifeboat was able to reach the scene and take the individuals to safety.
‘We are glad that it was handled in such a professional and efficient way by the RNLI and our own staff and we thank passengers for their patience and understanding that the incident caused to their journeys.’
Photographs: Andrew Williams