The fishing vessel at the centre of a major rescue operation involving three lifeboats - including one from Derry - off the Donegal coast last weekend has been involved in two other significant incidents within the last two months.
Today's Inish Times newspaper reports that the ‘Sean Óg 2’ was rescued by another RNLI lifeboat on Tuesday, December 6, when it encountered engine problems off the west coast of Scotland and towed into Castebay on Barra, the most southerly inhabited island in the Outer Hebrides.
And on Monday, November 2, the same boat reported a collision with the container ship ‘Atlantic Sea’ 40 miles north of Malin Head.
It suffered damaged to the wheelhouse and railings, and it subsequently went to Killybegs for repairs. The ‘Atlantic Sea’ continued on its voyage from Liverpool to Hamburg.
An investigation was subsequently launched.
Last Saturday, three lifeboats - from Arranmore, Lough Swilly (Buncrana) and Portrush - were tasked to assist the 15 metre “crabber” vessel which lost power 20 miles north of Fanad Head in gale force winds - and it was eventually towed into Rathmullan after a rescue operation that lasted over 12 hours.
One of the crew members on the Portrush lifeboat was injured during its mission.
Jonathan O’Donnell of the Mayo-based West Coast Crab Limited, the owners of the ‘Sean Óg 2’, paid tribute to the RNLI volunteers.
“I would personally like to thank them for the fine job that they did,” he said.
The boat has two rotating five-man crews, one comprising Irish fishermen and the other being from Latvia.
He added that that the vessel had never had any problems before the recent incidents and “ran like clockwork.”
It has frequently fished out of Greencastle in the Inishowen peninsula.
Joe Joyce, Lough Swilly RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer, said: “This was an extremely challenging call out for all the RNLI volunteers involved and we are delighted that the five fishermen were brought safely back to shore.”
“Our lifeboats launched in challenging weather conditions on Saturday afternoon and our volunteers, 20 in all, spent almost 15 hours at sea, most of it in the hours of darkness. They faced gale force conditions and 50 feet swells but with great courage, selflessness and teamwork they successfully met and overcame those challenges to bring the fishermen to safety."
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