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Aberdeenshire lifeboat to return to full service next month after it was suspended due to “personal rivalries”

Wednesday October 30th 2019 at 11:28 AM

It’s been confirmed an Aberdeenshire lifeboat, which was suspended due to “personal rivalries” earlier this year, will return to full service next month.

The Peterhead lifeboat was forced to stand own last month because of “a lack of mutual trust, good communication and teamwork among the crew”.

It was revealed during a meeting in Peterhead on Monday, that the station will become fully operational on the 9th of November, more than four months after it was forced to go “off service”.

Lifeboat Operations Manager, Jurgen Wahle, said: “A huge amount of work and dedication from volunteers and staff alike has gone into the station over the past months and it’s brilliant to see that effort paying off with the station returning to full service.

“Our focus is now on continuing to develop our volunteers, welcome new recruits and to, as always, provide a world class lifesaving service to our local community.

“Everyone at the station thanks the town for their ongoing support of the lifeboat and her crew”.

The RNLI was forced to suspend operations at the North-east base in June because of a “lack of mutual trust” between some volunteers, prompting the charity to take “immediate action” in order to rectify the situation.

The decision was taken after failed attempt to recruit more volunteers for the town’s crew, which has been in operation since 1865.

Lifeboats from Aberdeen and Fraserburgh were drafted in to provide cover while the station was offline. 

A spokesman for the RNLI said: “The decision has been taken to stand down a small number of volunteers at Peterhead Lifeboat Station, resulting in the lifeboat being taken temporarily off service.

“This action is a last resort and follows many attempts to tackle a lack of mutual trust, good communication and teamwork among the crew which has become so serious that the station is no longer capable of operating safely and effectively.

“The decision to relieve volunteers of their duties follows a recent crew meeting, attended by senior RNLI operational personnel, which saw some of the crew continue to exhibit negative behaviours that have been challenged for many years. 

“We are committed to our lifeboat station at Peterhead and are taking immediate action to resolve the situation.

The station has been operating at reduced capacity since and took part in the rescue of a 160 tonne fishing boat during a force eight gale on Sunday.

Crews were out at sea for more than 12 hours as they fixed a tow to the stricken vessel before slowly bringing it back to the safety of Peterhead harbour.

Martyn Simpson, Peterhead volunteer Navigator, said: “The crew did a brilliant job in some very challenging conditions. When the pagers go you never know what you’re going to face and at 06:30 on a Sunday morning, that’s no different.

“We dealt with some huge seas and establishing a tow multiple times, after it parted due to the conditions, was no easy task but there was great team spirit and I think everyone was glad to eventually get back to dry land, it’s a shout we’ll remember for a while”.

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