The Settler grounded on Tuesday evening but refloated on yesterday's afernoon high tide, which was 50cm higher than the morning tide.

Divers to check wellboat after grounding

Settler sailed to Mallaig under its own power after floating free on high tide yesterday evening

Published Last updated

A wellboat that was grounded north of Glenelg on the west coast of Scotland on Tuesday is now in Mallaig harbour and is due to be inspected by divers today after being successfully refloated at high tide yesterday evening.

The Settler, a 40-metre vessel with a draft of 4.7 metres, was travelling to a Scottish Sea Farms site to harvest fish when it grounded and became stuck as the tide receded.

Chris Mackay, marine superintendent DPA (designated person ashore) for the wellboat’s owner-operator, Ocean Farm Services (OFS), said a first attempt to free the vessel yesterday morning was unsuccessful because the high tide wasn’t big enough.

The evening tide was 50cm higher, which was enough of a difference to allow the Settler to float free.

Pulled from shore

The Helen Burnie, a 27-metre multipurpose vessel owned by Mull-based Inverlussa Marine Services, pulled the Settler away from the shore.

“Our own propulsion wasn’t damaged, but we didn’t want to start up so close to the shore,” said Mackay, who travelled from the OFS headquarters in Shetland with company co-owner Gibby Clark to assist with the re-floating.

After inspections to make sure the hull was sound and that there were no leaks, the Settler made its own way to Mallaig, escorted by the Helen Burnie.

No one was injured in the grounding, but the crew of four was taken off in the interests of safety.

Gave up bunks

“The Helen Burnie crew gave up their bunks so the guys could get some sleep,” said Mackay, who added that the Settler’s crew returned to the wellboat at first light yesterday to prepare for the first attempt to refloat the vessel.

Mackay expressed his thanks and appreciation for the help the Settler had received from other service boat companies, and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which sent two lifeboats to the scene of the grounding.

He said the Mowi Hunter (tug/service vessel) was also in attendance yesterday evening and Inverlussa’s 25-metre aquaculture support vessel Gina Mary had been involved in the first attempt to refloat the Settler yesterday morning.

“We also had a lot of offers of assistance from other boats passing by.”

Although the Settler appears to be relatively unscathed, OFS must wait for results of the dive inspection to ascertain if repairs are required before the wellboat can go back into service.

The Settler tied up at Mallaig harbour this morning after floating off rocks yesterday evening.