"It’s not of role the UK Coastguard, which is an emergency service, to arrange a vessel’s repairs or to move a vessel to a location that’s more convenient for the crew."
Two American sailors who have been rescued multiple times in the past month have prompted a UK Coastguard reminder that the service is for emergencies – not general repairs.
The men, both in their 70s, who sail aboard the 40ft yacht Nora, are reportedly attempting to travel from Scandinavia to North America.
Bob Weise and Steve Shapiro have called out lifeboats in Norway, Denmark, Scotland, Ireland and Cornwall since setting sail from Norway last July, but told BBC News the rescues had nothing to do with “seamanship”.
In their most recent rescue, the St Ives All Weather Lifeboat was tasked by Falmouth Coastguard and launched early afternoon on Tuesday 19 January to attend Nora, which had ‘no propulsion’.
A RNLI spokesman said: ‘Nora had the engine running but was getting no drive, and was drifting 1.5 miles North off St Ives Head. When the lifeboat reached the casualty vessel, crewman David Holland-Kemp was put aboard to liaise with the yacht crew. Once it was established that the problem could not be solved and needed mechanical work, the boat was towed back to St Ives and moored outside the harbour.
‘With the tide dropping it was not possible to perform a high water recovery straight on to the slipway, so the crew and shorecrew had to wait for an hour or so until the tide had dropped enough for the lifeboat to be recovered on the sand.’
A spokeswoman from the Maritime & Coastguard Agency said: ‘The UK Coastguard has responded on two occasions over the last three days and three occasions last month, to assist the crew of the NORA. The crew were right to call us when they got into trouble – we respond to all calls from those in difficulty. The crew and their vessel were brought to a place of safety near St Ives.
‘However, it is the responsibility of the crew to undertake the necessary repairs to safely prepare them for the next stage of their journey.
‘It’s not of role the UK Coastguard, which is an emergency service, to arrange a vessel’s repairs or to move a vessel to a location that’s more convenient for the crew. When crews goes to sea, they need to take responsibility for the maintenance of their vessels and their own preparations to ensure their safety along route.’
Northern Ireland rescue
On 5 November last year, volunteer lifeboat crew at Red Bay RNLI launched at 5am to help free the 40ft Nora from rocks, after she ran aground off Waterfoot Pier near Red Bay in county Antrim.
The yacht had been travelling from Oban in Scotland to Howth when the incident occurred. The call for help was made the night before and the Red Bay RNLI had attended and found the yacht ‘hard aground and stuck fast’.
The lifeboat crew shot the anchors off the yacht to secure it and ensure that it would remain safe during the evening. They checked that the two American crew aboard were unharmed and the Coastguard kept in touch with them during the night.
With the rising tide, the Red Bay RNLI were able to free Nora from the rocks. The two men were taken to a nearby mooring before they continued on their journey to Howth in Dublin.
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