Lifeboat break-in bid put lives at risk

Evening Express (City Final) - - Front Page - By Danny mckay

VAN­DALS could have “cost lives” af­ter a break-in bid at Aberdeen Har­bour left lifeboat crews un­able to reach their ves­sel. Aberdeen Lifeboat crews turned up for train­ing on Satur­day morn­ing, only to find they could not gain ac­cess to their boat.

It is be­lieved the van­dals struck on Fri­day night, where they at­tempted to smash open the lock at the se­cure area of Aberdeen Har­bour us­ing a heavy ob­ject, leav­ing the pad­lock twisted and not work­ing.

Crews had to find power tools to cut their way in – a de­lay which could have cost peo­ple their lives in an emer­gency.

Bill Deans, lifeboat oper­a­tions man­ager at Aberdeen Lifeboat Sta­tion, said: “This shock­ing, mind­less act could eas­ily have cost lives. “Minutes mat­ter in sav­ing lives at sea. “Imag­ine if the crew had been called out on a res­cue overnight and had to cut their way into their own lifeboat.

“That de­lay could have pre­vented them from ar­riv­ing in time to save a life.”

Bill added that this is the first time some­thing like this has hap­pened.

He said: “This is un­prece­dented. “We can’t imag­ine what would mo­ti­vate some­one to try to dam­age a com­mu­nity as­set that saves lives along the coast­line around Aberdeen. “The de­lay was long enough that it would have made a dif­fer­ence to the lifeboat’s launch­ing time.” Aberdeen Lifeboat’s dock is in a se­cure area of Aberdeen Har­bour which is cov­ered by CCTV.

Po­lice Scot­land were called and at­tended to gather ev­i­dence, in­clud­ing look­ing at CCTV.

Bill said: “The in­trud­ers had to scale quite high se­cu­rity fenc­ing. The area is cov­ered by CCTV so se­cu­rity should be ad­e­quate. “We would cer­tainly hope that Po­lice Scot­land will be able to find the cul­prits. “We’re re­lieved that they didn’t get into the lifeboat and there was no ac­tual dam­age to the ves­sel or op­er­at­ing sys­tems.” Coun­cil­lor Michael Hutchi­son, who rep­re­sents the area, con­demned the at­tack.

He said: “It’s con­cern­ing to hear that some­one would try to break into the lifeboat sta­tion. “It’s com­pletely un­ac­cept­able, whether or not their at­tempt was suc­cess­ful.”

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