The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Irish Coast Guard assisted the crew of a passenger vessel carrying 40 people after it ran aground on rocks on Lough Derg the past weekend.
The incident happened at Bonaveen Point, south of Terryglass. After the alarm was raised, the Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat and the Killaloe unit of the Irish Coast Guard were dispatched. When RNLI volunteers arrived on the scene, they discovered that the vessel had run aground on a rock shoal. The lifeboat approached the casualty vessel from the port side. Volunteers determined that everyone on board was safe, unharmed, and wearing their lifejackets.
The lifeboat crew inquired as to whether the casualty vessel was taking on water and whether there were any hazards visible in the water around the boat. The casualty vessel stated that they were not taking on any water and informed the RNLI crew of a significant hazard on their starboard side.
The lifeboat was in constant VHF communication with watch officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue coordination center on Valentia Island. From there, the incident response was coordinated.
An RNLI volunteer is said to have boarded the casualty vessel to install a harness and prepare the ship for towing. The volunteer then returned to the lifeboat, and the crew began positioning the lifeboat to take the vessel off the rocks, clearing the starboard side of the hazard.
It was decided that an attempt would be made to tow the ship away from the rocks. However, before this could be attempted, a number of passengers had to be transferred to the Coast Guard boat in order to relieve some of the strain on the stranded vessel. Six people were safely transferred to the Coast Guard rescue boat and brought ashore.
Meanwhile, the RNLI lifeboat crew managed to tow the grounded vessel away from the rocks and into deeper water. A second inspection of the vessel was also performed to determine whether any damage had occurred.
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