Portrush lifeboat. Latest report and pictures

PORTRUSH lifeboat the Katie Hannan is still stranded at Rathlin Island. Click the VIDEO icon for exclusive pictures taken by crew member Kelly Allen.

Friday - February 8, 2008

The Katie Hannan still lies in Rathlin Island. Salvage crews have been working throughout the day to remove the engines from the stricken vessel.

The Chief Executive of RNLI will visit Portrush and Rathlin over the weekend and a decision as to the final disposal of the lifeboat may well be announced during his visit.

Portrush lifeboat personnel are nearing exhaustion as the efforts to recover as much equipment as possible from the lefeboat have continued all week.

An enquiry by the RNLI and the Maritime Agency will now seek to establish if there is any blame to be apportioned for the incident, whehter there were technical problems and, most importantly, whether there are any lessons to be learnt from the incident.

Next on the minds of all those who work with and support the portrush Lifeboat will be the cost of repairing or replacing the Katie Hannan.A massive fundraising effort will soon be announced.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Efforts have been continuing to rescue the stricken lifeboat, stranded after being washed onto the rocks during a rescue mission on Tuesday evening. It is feared that the 2m vessel may be beyond repair after the incident and experts are on hand to try to refloat her and assess the full extent of the damage.

An RNLI spokesperson said on Friday afternoon that a replacement Trent lifeboat was now on station in portrush. The Portrush crew were on their way to Rathlin on Friday afternoon to attempt to pump fuel oil from the Katie Hannan and prevent any risk of pollution as the recovery continues.

Wednesday's report is below:

In heavy sea conditions the volunteer crew of lifeboat Katie Hannan had battled to save three people whose boat was perilously close to rocks. After several failed attempts to throw a line to the stricken boat, the lifeboat was grounded when struck by the heavy swell.

The lifeboat is being assessed for damage by RNLI technical experts and an attempt to pull her off the rocks by tug will be made early this afternoon at high tide. RNLI lifeboats from Larne, Islay and Lough Swilly are helping to maintain all-weather lifeboat cover until a relief lifeboat arrives at Portrush later tonight.

The Portrush inshore lifeboat continues to operate normally.

Two of the lifeboat crew were thrown into the water from the lifeboat's small inflatable boat after assisting in the attempts to refloat the all-weather lifeboat. They both managed to scramble ashore safely.

Despite the efforts of a local fishing vessel and Larne's RNLI lifeboat to tow the Katie Hannan from the rocks, the lifeboat could not be moved. For their own safety the five lifeboat crew remaining on board had to leave their vessel.

The three people who were at the centre of the rescue attempt were safely assisted to the shore by the Rathlin Island Coastguard team.

The Inspector of Lifeboats for RNLI Ireland, Colin Williams, praised the bravery of the Portrush lifeboat crew and their colleagues from Larne.

'The Larne lifeboat crew, helped by local fishermen from Ballycastle, aboard the fishing vessel Siobhan 2, struggled for several hours in very difficult sea conditions to attempt to refloat the Portrush Lifeboat. The Rathlin Island Coastguard team greatly assisted rescueefforts from ashore and the operation was efficiently co-ordinated by Belfast HM Coastguard.

'This incident clearly demonstrates the crucial importance of RNLI training that all our volunteer crew receive. It ensures they stay as safe as possible in sometimes hostile and dangerous conditions as has happened here.'