Eight hour odyssey for Aran Islands RNLI in Storm Barra aftermath

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Photo Credit: David McGrath

The Aran Islands RNLI lifeboat had an eight hour odyssey to come to the aid of a fishing vessel in trouble after Storm Barra.

The all-weather lifeboat was called out by the Coast Guard on Wednesday to assist a French registered fishing vessel which had got into difficulty in poor weather off Inis Mór.

The boat launched shortly after 1pm yesterday afternoon, and made its way to the stricken boat, which was struggling with engine problems in an eight-metre swell and a strong North-Westerly wind.

When the lifeboat arrived on scene, a sister ship had taken up the tow of the casualty vessel.

Following a consultation between the casualty vessel and the Irish Coast Guard a decision was made that they would be taken into Galway Harbour under tow.

The Aran Islands lifeboat crew stayed with both vessels for the duration of the passage, until they were safely moored, an operation that took over eight hours.

The lifeboat crew were met at the docks by lifeboat colleague, Galway RNLI Deputy Launching Authority Paul Clearly, who looked after the crew following the long callout.

Speaking after the callout Aran Islands RNLI Coxswain John O’Donnell said “Conditions at sea were extremely challenging and the Coast Guard was right to request the lifeboat to stand by and ensure both vessels got to safety.”

“Towing a vessel in these conditions is slow and difficult work and with the force of the waves it could have easily parted.”

“If that had happened, we were ready to step in and complete the tow. Thankfully both vessels made it to safety, with the lifeboat staying alongside for the entire journey.”