A major air and sea rescue operation took place off Orkney Islands (UK) this morning (Nov 24), after the crew of a cargo ship reported that it was drifting without engine power and taking on water.

Lifeboats from Kirkwall and Stromness are both involved in the rescue of the ship – the 99 metre cargo vessel Skog carrying a cargo of paper – as is the Kirkwall based Coastguard tug and a Coastguard rescue helicopter.

A Coastguard spokesman giving an update on the situation said: “The Barbados registered cargo vessel Skog, which was drifting off Orkney due to engine problems is now under tow."

Cargo ship Skog in trouble off Orkney islands, UK

Image: Dieter Kroepelin

“After the vessel reported that it was drifting without engine power and taking in water this morning, Shetland Coastguard sent the Coastguard rescue helicopter to the scene and requested the Stromness and Kirkwall RNLI all weather lifeboats."

“The Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s emergency towing vessel, Herakles was also sent to assist the vessel and an oil industry standby vessel Vos Hera also attended.”

The 10 crew members remain on board the ship, and pumps were transferred on board the Skog by the Coastguard helicopter. The vessel has taken a tow line from the Herakles and will be taken to a yet to be confirmed port for repairs.

At 11.30am Coastguards reported that the vessel was in a position some 6.5 nautical miles east, north east from Papa Westray, with conditions on scene described as moderate to rough seas.

Source: orcadian.co.uk