Thursday, 19 February 2015

Lysblink Seaways - Day 2, Morning

The Lysblink Seaways is a forlorn sight this morning, but it's not until one is close to her that one can hear her pain: she's moving far more than yesterday, the jagged rocks cutting into her plates and, as she moves, she groans.

At least the weather has improved, with the wind southwesterly force 4 and gusting, some bright sunshine, and occasional showers.

Overnight, a massive salvage operation has swung into action.  The contract has gone to Svitzer, with Briggs Marine appointed as a subcontractor.  Huge articulated lorries have been making their way along Ardnamurchan's single-track roads carrying heavy machinery.  One early arrival was Highland Council's marine pollution unit, which was described by one professional as 'highly organised'.  They brought oil-containment booms, matting, detergents, a rigid inflatable, and technicians prepared to deal with any spillage.  So far, the only report of oil has been from local coastguards, who said they could smell it in the air.

Briggs' tug Kingdom of Fife arrived at first light, while their Forth Jouster has been standing by.  We understand that the Coastguard tug which set out from Orkney has turned back.  There is considerable local anger that the Coastguard tug which used to be stationed at Stornaway has been withdrawn, as this incident, the third locally in the last fifteen years, is exactly the sort in which she would have been invaluable.

Investigations into the cause of the stranding have started.  Picture shows one of several tight-lipped officers from the UK's Marine Accident and Investigation Branch.

An event like this attracts a variety of businesses.  This is Matthew Harmsworth of ROAVR, a small company which operates 'remote aerial vehicles' - the one here was flying today can be seen on the tailboard.  Since he is properly registered, flying conditions for Matthew were marginal, with the wind speed averaging 18mph, but his drone did get into the air.

In a small community like this, accommodation for this huge influx of people is a real problem.  Staff at Ardnamurchan Estate have opened up many of its letting houses to deal with the overflow from the small Kilchoan Hotel, while the Sonachan Hotel has reopened to take more.  Picture shows truck from Cory-Navarm parked outside the Kilchoan Hotel.

This is the scene from near Mingary Castle.  The weather - a hail shower was just arriving when this was taken - is forecast to remain changeable for the next few days, but it may deteriorate on Sunday.  Tomorrow morning's high tide, due at 6.30, is unusually high at 4.8m, so this seems the time when they're most likely to attempt to refloat her.  If they fail - and this is what locals fear - then the tide heights drop off quickly and she may have to be broken up here on the rocks.


  1. I just heard tonight that this ship was going from Belfast to Norway I think, unless she had to berth somewhere else for some reason why did she have to go through he sound and not out by the west of Mull ?

    1. Was thinking that too Paul.