Thurso Lifeboat

Thurso Lifeboat in nine-hour storm-hit rescue

Six fishermen were brought to shore by a lifeboat crew in a nine-and-a-half hour rescue in stormy seas.

The men’s creel boat, Sparkling Line, broke down off the north Sutherland coast on Thursday. Thurso lifeboat was launched to go to their aid.

The conditions included gale force eight winds and waves of up to 33ft (10m) in height.

The RNLI volunteers managed to get a towline to the fishing boat but the tow parted fives times during the rescue.

Shetland Coastguard was alerted by the Scrabster-based Sparkling Line’s crew at about midday on Thursday.

The creel boat broke down after its propeller was “fouled” and the craft began drifting towards shore.

By about 22:00 on Thursday, the fishing boat had been towed into Scrabster Harbour.

The coxswain on the lifeboat was Dougie Munro who recently received his 40 years service medal from the RNLI.

Mr Munro’s older brother, Bill “Wing” Munro retired as Thurso’s coxswain last month after almost 48 years service at the station in Caithness.

Deputy coxswain Andy Pearson said the towing operation had been among the toughest shouts the Thurso crew had been involved in.

Mr Pearson told BBC Radio Scotland one of the “trickiest” parts of the rescue was having to reconnect the towline after it broke five times.

He said: “Breaking waves were some times coming over the top of the deck, which were then washing the tow rope about.

“So, you are trying not to keep a lot of loose rope on the deck or otherwise it gets wrapped round your feet.”