Author: Julia Sylvester, Public Relations Officer
RNLI MOB Guardian aids four fishermen, onboard the fishing vessel the Aeolus, 50 miles offshore, without engine power or radio contact. At the time wave height was reported to be 3m with winds of 26knots (30mph) gusting. Using MOB Guardian, the skipper contacted the search and rescue authorities that were able to pinpoint the location of the vessel by using information provided by the system. Assistance was sent to the fishing vessel, providing reassurance to the fishermen who eventually carried out temporary repairs to their vessel engine, ensuring a safe return to port.
Following the incident Skipper James Jack stated,
‘MOB Guardian has proved its worth. The unit gave us the reassurance that the RNLI operations room in Poole would react swiftly and make contact with the Coastguard, when we were unable to do so ourselves due to a major power failure.’ Skipper Jack also expressed his gratitude to Aberdeen Coastguard and to the vessels in the area that assisted him.
John Fulton RNLI Fishing Safety Manager for Scotland adds,
‘Even 50 miles out the MOB Guardian system proved to be a real fishermen’s friend. Although the fishing crew were not in immediate danger, it provided them with reassurance that help was at hand, should things turn nasty.
‘I hope details of this incident inspires other fishermen to get themselves equipped with MOB Guardian – at the moment some fishermen may find that with European Grants, RNLI legacy funding and by reclaiming VAT, they may not even have to pay a penny for the lifesaving system. I would urge fishermen to find out more by contacting the RNLI MOB Guardian helpdesk on 01202 663142 or firstname.lastname@example.org. As we enter autumn with weather and sea conditions likely to worsen, please think about increasing your safety by using MOB Guardian.’
Details of Incident:
On Wednesday 19 August, the 45ft fishing vessel Aeolus was fishing 50 miles off Fraserburgh with four crew onboard. At the time a fresh southerly Force 6 wind was blowing. At 12 noon Skipper James Jack decided to shift grounds and was underway when the boat lost all power and the engine stopped.
Skipper Jack and his crew tried to effect repairs without success. At this point Skipper Jack attempted to make radio contact on channels 16 and 8 with a vessel that was approximately four miles away, without success. At this point he also attempted to make contact with Aberdeen Coastguard, again without success, and concluded that the major power failure had rendered his radio ineffective.
After more than an hour from the initial loss of engine power, and after attempts to restart the engine had failed, as had attempts at radio contact, Skipper Jack took the decision to activate his MOB Guardian unit. On receiving the alert at 1.44pm, the RNLI operations room at Poole contacted Falmouth Coastguard who contacted the local Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre at Aberdeen. They in turn alerted vessels in the vicinity of Aeolus. One of these vessels made contact with Aeolus and requested her position. Although he still had no power, Skipper Jack was able to give an accurate latitude and longitude position from his MOB Guardian unit, which was relayed by the other vessel to Aberdeen Coastguard. The Coastguard conveyed the information to another vessel who then made contact with Aeolus and made way towards them.
At this time Skipper Jack was successful in making a temporary repair to the engine and was able to make way to Fraserburgh Harbour, with the other vessel in close attendance until Skipper Jack was within VHF distance of Aberdeen Coastguard. Aeolus and the four fishermen onboard finally reached harbour safely at 10pm.
Information about RNLI MOB Guardian
MOB Guardian is the only system that provides safety cover for both the vessel and individual crew members. As soon as the fishing vessel goes to sea, MOB Guardian connects with the RNLI operations room.
The system expects the MOB Guardian unit to automatically update its position at hourly intervals. If contact is lost, the shore-side system automatically tries to re-establish contact. If contact cannot be established with the MOB Guardian unit, the RNLI operations room is alerted who confirm if the boat is at sea. If so details are passed to the Coastguard, who accept it as a Search and Rescue (SAR) alert.
The benefit of fitting MOB Guardian is that the RNLI can pass the last known position, course and speed of the fishing boat to the Coastguard who can programme it into their own location software that allows for tide, wind and environmental factors – helping take the search out of search and rescue.
In addition, each crew member wears a personal safety device (PSD), which communicates constantly with the base unit. If a crew member falls overboard the communication link is broken and the base unit, sounds a very loud klaxon aboard the fishing vessel. An LCD screen on the base unit displays the range and bearing back to the GPS position of the man overboard incident, and alerting the RNLI via a satellite system in less than 3 minutes. This information is passed straight away to the Coastguard, who will initiate a SAR mission. No other system works on the ‘always-on’ principle and is linked directly to the RNLI and other SAR authorities via the shore-side monitoring infrastructure.
Additionally the MOB Guardian base unit inside the vessel features an emergency button that can be pressed manually to send an alert to the RNLI operations room – which happened in this incident.