Marine emer­gency was caused by moth sur­vey

The Oban Times - - News - MARTIN LAING mlaing@oban­

OBAN and Camp­bel­town Coast­guards, Camp­bel­town lifeboat and a res­cue he­li­copter were scram­bled in the early hours of on Tues­day … be­cause of moths.

The emer­gency be­gan at 4.30am af­ter a small lo­cal fish­ing ves­sel re­ported see­ing a static white light 30 me­tres above the cliffs at the Mull of Kin­tyre.

Wor­ried that there might be some­one in trou­ble on the cliffs, the UK Coast­guard sent Oban and Camp­bel­town Coast­guard res­cue teams, Camp­bel­town RNLI all-weather lifeboat and the UK Coast­guard search and res­cue he­li­copter based at Prest­wick to the lo­ca­tion.

Ar­riv­ing on scene, the Camp­bel­town lifeboat dis­cov­ered that the bright light was ac­tu­ally be­ing used to at­tract moths to a white sheet as part of a bio­di­ver­sity night sur­vey. All the teams were stood down and re­turned to base.

Stephen Turner, UK Coast­guard duty con­troller, said: ‘This is a very re­mote part of Scot­land and the crew of the fish­ing ves­sel were right to con­tact us so we could in­ves­ti­gate the source of the light. For­tu­nately, we were quickly able to es­tab­lish that there was a bio­di­ver­sity sur­vey in the area and not a po­ten­tial search and res­cue.

‘It also pro­vides us with a per­fect op­por­tu­nity to put out a valu­able safety mes­sage to peo­ple who un­der­take work like this along our coast­line. Us­ing torches and static lights along the cliff coast­lines can eas­ily be mis­in­ter­preted as a call for help.

‘If you’re plan­ning to do some sur­vey­ing along the coast which might in­volve us­ing a form of light, tell the Coast­guard. You should also tell some­one at home where you are go­ing and when you ex­pect to re­turn.

‘Your shore con­tact can then raise the alarm if you don’t re­turn as ex­pected and will have all the in­for­ma­tion that res­cuers need to find you.’

The Oban lifeboat Mora Edith Mac­Don­ald was launched on Mon­day at 4.55pm to help a mo­tor ves­sel with one per­son on board, who was re­ported to be in se­ri­ous trou­ble di­rectly un­der Con­nel Bridge.

The lifeboat ar­rived within 15 min­utes to find the ves­sel’s skip­per had man­aged to de­ploy his an­chor in the very strong cur­rents. The lifeboat towed the boat to safety. The skip­per, who had in­jured his hand, was later trans­ferred to hospi­tal.

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