Radio blunder sparks £6K rescue operation


SCOTS lifeboat crews were sent on a £6000 wild goose chase after a German ship accidentally sent out a distress call.

The RNLI Dunbar station received the mayday at around 4pm on Monday afternoon, alerting them to a “lifeboat sinking”.

Two crews from Dunbar, East Lothian, and one from St Abbs in the Scottish Borders were scrambled and spent the next two hours scouring the area between the stations for the stricken vessel.

A total of 15 lifeboat crew were involved in the false alarm
A total of 15 lifeboat crew were involved in the false alarm


Aberdeen Coastguard was also alerted and checked its recordings to identify exactly where the call had come from.

The rescuers honed in on a German vessel, the Clamor Schulte, anchored off Dunbar – but the crew denied the emergency signal was anything to do with them.

Kenny Peters, Dunbar Station Mechanic, said after more fruitless searching the German ship eventually admitted it  had broadcast the call.

Kenny said: “But when we got back in touch, the captain of the ship did sheepishly admit that they had been carrying out lifeboat drills on board and that they had broadcast it on a public channel rather than a private one.”

Although valuable time and funds were used by this accidental call, the RNLI worker maintains that they “would rather be safe than sorry.”

The Royal National Lifeboat Institute is funded by charitable donations and have saved at least 140,000 lives at sea since 1824.


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