Sunday, 4 January 2015

Cemfjord Lost

We don't often see sunsets from the Ormsaigbeg side of the peninsula, particularly in winter, but this is last night's, seen across the shoulder of Maol Buidhe.

The view across the Sound of Mull this morning was suitably sombre.  We'd heard on the news last night of the discovery of the upturned hull of a bulk carrier to the east of the Pentland Firth, and the efforts being made to locate the eight missing crew.  No distress call was made, which suggests the ship must have foundered very quickly in bad weather.

She's the Cemfjord, a Cyprus-registered, German-operated ship which we've seen in the Sound - she's pictured above in 2012.  As her name suggests, she's been converted to carry cement, and was on passage from Aalborg in Denmark to Runcorn in Cheshire.  Full story, and pictures of the finding of the ship by a passenger ferry, here.

It seems almost incredible that a relatively modern, well-found ship can sink so suddenly, and the incident serves as a timely reminder of the power of the sea.  On a local note, our worry is that, since the withdrawal of the Coastguard tug which, until 2012, was stationed at Stornoway, the only boats immediately available to tow ships in trouble are the RNLI lifeboats.

Many thanks to Kilchoan Early Bird for drawing my attention to the story.

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