Emile Robin 1979/80
EMILE ROBIN award made to Mr Magnus Scott, Skipper of the mfv Alert, for rescuing 6 men from the St Kentigern adrift on a raft in dangerous seas of Skelda Voe on 3 November 1979.
On Saturday 3 November 1979, at about 0830 Mr Scott telephoned a village acquaintance to enquire about a lighting failure and was told that the 0800 news bulletin had reported that the Saint Kentigern had gone aground at Burra lsle. He thought at that time there was very little hope for the crew if their ship had grounded on the south western end of Burra lsle. About 0945 he was on his way to a shed beside the house to look at some creels when his eye caught the dying seconds of a flare on the south eastern point of Skelda Voe. This would be about 1 mile from where his boat was moored.
He immediately telephoned the Coastguard and then went to scan the area with binoculars and caught one glimpse of the liferaft amidst reefs, breakers and boiling foam. Leaving his wife to telephone the Coastguard and with two of the local men he went to the local pier where he was joined by Mr Robert Cooper of Grindibrek, Easter Skeld. The conditions on the local bar were hazardous but they managed to get the Alert over this bar and seaward. The visibility was very poor because of high seas and spray and they were within 200 yards of the liferaft when they sighted it among reefs with only 25 yards separation between them and the rocky shore where there would have been little hope for them. Mr Scott brought the Alert to within 15 yards of the raft. He could not get any closer because of the dangerous reefs on which the seas were breaking. At this point he threw a heaving line to the raft and this was made fast. He then towed the raft through a shallow opening in the reefs and when he got her clear he swung his own boat round and went up to the raft on her weather side and got all the 6 men off safely. By then they were suffering from the usual consequence of exposure and the fear of their situation. The raft was towed for a while but the condition of the raft was such that it was open to the sea and was swamped frequently. The heaving line eventually broke and he left the raft and took the survivors on to the pier.
Mr Scott and his colleagues displayed fine seamanship in the most hazardous circumstances and made a courageous rescue when the raft was little more than 20 yards off the rocks. Mr Scott’s prompt initiative, fine seamanship and extremely courageous action undoubtedly saved the 6 lives involved.