Graeme Dey, the MSP for Angus South, and Mike Weir, the MP for Angus, were yesterday (Monday) given a tour of the RNLI’s Arbroath Station and the new state of the art lifeboat it is hoped will be deployed in the port within the next five years.
The parliamentarians met members of the crew, including Ron Churchill, the station’s mechanic, and Jamie Robertson, who serves as the helmsman on the station’s inshore lifeboat and on the crew of their main boat.
Mr Dey and Mr Weir got a chance to see the very latest RNLI Shannon Class lifeboat – which it is hoped one of which will replace the current vessel which has served the area for the past 23 years.
They also learned of plans to build a new station capable of hosting the Shannon Class vessel in an investment which, including the carriage system for taking the boat to and from the water would amount to around £7million with local fundraising going to be required to meet a proportion of that cost.
The lifeboat which visited the town has now left without undertaking the formal trials which would have determined whether that type of vessel was suitable for deployment in Arbroath. But it is hoped the trials will take place before the end of next month leading to a green light being given the project.
Mr Dey commented:
“Talking to members of the lifeboat crew, it is clear that they believe having a Shannon class vessel in Arbroath would be hugely advantageous to their work.
“It was interesting to hear that the new boat is capable of going at double the speed of the current one, that it will be able to cover 250 nautical miles compared to the 140 mile range of the present vessel, and that it is far more manouvereable.
“In terms of functionality and safety there is no doubt that a Shannon class vessel would be of great benefit to the crew based here in Arbroath.”
Mr Weir remarked:
“I am aware that there is a Shannon class vessel coming to Montrose later in the year and I would very much welcome another one being based in my constituency.
“It is a pity that the planned trial has been cut short but it should be back before long for its sea trial. Hopefully, this trial will help the RNLI to decide to locate the boat here in Arbroath.”
“Ron and the rest of the team are clearly very excited about the prospect of a Shannon class vessel being stationed in Arbroath and on behalf of Graeme and myself, I would like to thank them, particularly Ron and Jamie, for showing us round the station.”