On Saturday, the lifeboat dubbed Lough Derg RNLI assisted 40 individuals on a 40-ft passenger vessel that had run aground on a rocky shoal based off the Bonaveen Point on the County Galway shore, toward the north-western end of Lough Derg.
Given the huge number of individuals on the casualty vessel, the Valentia Coast Guard requested the Killaloe Coast Guard to make its launch.
At around 1.35 pm, the lifeboat could see the casualty vessel that had run aground off the Bonaveen Point. Using local knowledge and onboard electronic navigation tools, the RNLI volunteers navigated two shallow shoals to approach the casualty vessel’s stern safely.
The lifeboat was in VHF contact with the casualty vessel and Valentia Coast Guard. The lifeboat also asked if the casualty vessel had been taking on water and if hazards were visible in the water around the boat.
The casualty vessel mentioned they were not taking on any water and informed the RNLI crew members that there was a significant hazard on the side of the starboard.
The lifeboat happened to come alongside the casualty vessel’s port side. Volunteers reportedly established that all those on board were unharmed and wearing lifejackets. By now, the Killaloe Coast Guard had been present on the scene.
Given the significant number of onboard casualties, the location, and the weather conditions on the lake, the RNLI lifeboat helm also chose to take the vessel off the shoal. It informed the Valentia Coast Guard of this decision. The RNLI lifeboat reportedly asked if the Killaloe Coast Guard would come alongside the port side of the lifeboat and take a few passengers off to lighten the casualty vessel.
Members associated with the Killaloe Coast Guard’s mobile unit had travelled by road and would be meeting the casualties to drive them to their cars. Six individuals had been transferred to the Killaloe Coast Guard’s vessel.
An RNLI volunteer reportedly boarded the casualty vessel to set up a harness and prepare the ship for a tow. The volunteer then returned to the lifeboat, and the crew set about positioning the lifeboat to take the vessel off the rocks so that the ship would be clear of the hazard on the starboard side.
With the casualty vessel off the rocky shoal, the lifeboat reportedly advised the plate to centre the rudder and make adjustments needed to follow behind the lifeboat directly; the casualty vessel had no apparent impairment to the props or engine was able to make a way in its power.
Once it reached safe water, the lifeboat took the casualty vessel alongside to release lines.
The Killaloe Coast Guard reportedly returned to the scene and accompanied the casualty vessel to the safety of Castle Harbour with the Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat. The location was Portumna.
At around 3 pm, the casualty vessel was tied safely in Castle Harbour.
References: Nenagh Guardian, Irish Examiner
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