Coastguard Emergency Towing Vessel Takes Russian Timber Carrier Under Tow

Captain of the Russian general cargo vessel Mekahnik Semakov reported problems to Stornoway Coastguard on Wednesday that he had difficulties with their engines and in particular their fuel oil. At the time a sister ship the Mekhanik Kraskovksi was standing by.

The Mekahnik Semakov which is carrying timber was drifting at the time, and the crew reported they needed an hour to fix their engine. The vessel was around 2.6 miles offshore from the Isle of Skye at the time. The vessel was being constantly monitored from the Coastguard Centre on the Isle of Lewis on their automatic identification system (AIS) which reported the vessel drifting north eastwards at a rate of 0.3 knots.

The Coastguard Emergency Towing Vessel (ETV) Anglian Prince was sent to stand by the vessel whilst repairs were undertaken. , The weather in the area was good at the time but increased winds were forecast as the day progressed.

However by 9.30 this morning, the problem had not been resolved and the vessels owners was asked to ensure it had tug assistance as the Coastguard was concerned at its rate and direction of drift and the projected increase in wind rate.

As no tugs were in the immediate vicinity it was decided that the `Anglian Prince should undertake the tow and bring the Mekahnik Semakov to a safe anchorage at Broad Bay, Isle of Lewis.

By 12.30 pm the line was attached, and the ETV began to tow the vessel out of harms way to Broad Bay.

Jim Dickson, Counter Pollution and Salvage Officer for the MCA said, “The MCA uses ocean going tugs such as the `Anglian Prince and which are stationed in the Minch for just such a set of circumstances. The Mekahnik Semakov represented a threat to the coastline and environment this morning, particularly as the repairs had not been effected as the day progressed, and our concern was the increased rate of drift of the vessel once forecast increased winds arrived.” He added, “We then took the decision that our ETV would take the vessel to a place of safety. The tow is continuing and likely to bring the Mekahnik Semakov to Broad Bay later tonight for full repairs to be carried out.”

For further details contact: The Maritime & Coastguard Agency Press Office at 023 8032 9401.