Wishart commends Lerwick RNLI lifeboat 18-hour rescue operation with Parliamentary motion

24 Oct 2023
RNLI lifeboat in Lerwick harbour

Shetland’s MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat Beatrice Wishart MSP has commended the Lerwick RNLI lifeboat crew for rescuing the 17-metre Danish trawler, Westbank, and her three-man crew by lodging a parliamentary motion.

After the Danish trawler broke down and lost engine power 60 miles east of Shetland in the stormy conditions of Storm Babet, the RNLI lifeboat went out through difficult and treacherous seas to provide a tow back to harbour in an 18-hour operation.

Ms Wishart lodged a parliamentary motion to commend the RNLI lifeboat crew for their service and dedication to saving lives at sea. The motion has been signed by MSPs from every political party.

Ms Wishart said:

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

“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.

“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.”


Notes to editors

Ms Wishart’s parliamentary motion reads as follows, and can be viewed on the Scottish Parliament website here.

Lerwick RNLI Tows Danish Boat and her Three-man Crew to Safety in 18-hour Operation

Submitted by: Beatrice Wishart, Shetland Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats

That the Parliament commends the crew of the Lerwick Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeboat for rescuing the 17-metre Danish trawler, Westbank, and her three-man crew; understands that, on 19 October 2023, the RNLI lifeboat was tasked with assisting the Westbank, which had broken down and lost engine power 60 miles east of Shetland, and had started taking on water in stormy conditions; further understands that the RNLI Lerwick lifeboat took several hours to reach the trawler through difficult stormy and treacherous conditions caused by the south-easterly gale of Storm Babet, with the sea conditions described by coxswain Stephen Manson as “brutal”; notes that these weather conditions increased the challenges of the operation, with three attempts needed to get the RNLI lifeboat’s tow line attached to the trawler; further notes and commends the assistance provided to the fishing vessel by an oil support vessel and a coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Norway; praises the courage and determination of the RNLI lifeboat crew, who returned to Lerwick harbour with the trawler under tow after an 18-hour rescue operation; commends coxswain Stephen Manson and the RNLI Lerwick lifeboat crew for their service and dedication to saving lives at sea, and wishes all at the Lerwick RNLI lifeboat station and the crew of the Westbank well.


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