When the Lysblink Seaways drifted gently off the rocks at Mingary Pier during high water this evening, only one person had thought it might happen: Hughie MacLachlan of Kilchoan Coastguard had noticed that the ship had slipped down the rocks earlier in the day, and commented on it. And it was his team, along with a local policeman, who were the only ones at the pier when the ship began a short journey towards what would have been another set of rocks at Mingary Castle.
Fortunately, salvage ship Forth Jouster was close at hand, and five anchor are now set, holding the ship steady. Picture shows the tug, the Kingdom of Fife, approaching the Lysblink Seaways soon after. The ship is listing, and down by the stern, but there's no indication of any further problems. Salvage experts are now on board assessing the situation.
The ship has leaked fuel oil - many thanks to the Raptor, a local contributor to the Diary and keen ornithologist, for pointing out that light oil can be seen coming from the ship in the photograph from Mingary on today's morning post - but the amounts were, mercifully, small, and there was no suggestion that they would increase.
Divers had been down, not to inspect the ship's hull but the damage which is largely underneath and, therefore, not visible, but to look for any rocks which might further have damaged the ship when she is pulled off.
The crew were not leaving the ship. They were comfortable, have plenty of food and a good cook on board, but obviously the MAIB and Coastguard will need to interview them.
XCWeather, and the rest of the week is as bad if not worse.
The ship has taken events into her own hands. All we on shore can hope is that she can be moved quickly to a safe, sheltered position, stabilised, surrounded by booms in case of leakage of fuel and, in due course, towed away. Then there will be a lot of questions which we would like answered.