Marine News

By John Kinsman, COASTWATCH ST MONANS, east Fife.

Did sonar cause unexplained deaths?

Scientists are investigating why 75 deep water whales washed up on Scottish and Irish coasts during August and September this year. Most are Cuvier’s beaked whales, which are among the deepest diving whales on the planet. Experts said 45 badly decomposed beaked whales were washed up on Hebridean Islands such as North and South Uist and Tiree, with another 22 stranded on the west coast of Ireland and one in Northern Ireland.They said it was highly unlikely that the animals were killed by natural phenomenon such as disease.

Those investigating want to know whether increased military activity in the east Atlantic may have played a part in their deaths.They said sounds like sonar used to trace submarines, may frighten whales to the surface too fast leading them to suffer decompression sickness or the bends which is similar to the potential fatal condition experienced by divers.There are concerns that the whales being washed up are just the tip of the iceberg and hundreds could have died at sea. The Royal Navy said it took its responsibilities very seriously and carried out avoidance actions when at all possible if whales were detected before or during sonar operations.

Fishing boat rescued in terrible weather off Fife coast

Lifeboat volunteers rescued a fishing boat in trouble off the Fife Coast on 9th October.
The RNLI crew went to the aid of the MFV GRIANAN OIR after she became tangled in line six miles off shore during severe weather conditions.The lifeboat from Anstruther towed the boat back to Anstruther harbour in the early hours of the following morning. There were five crew on board the fishing boat but no one was hurt and the boat was not damaged.

The 56ft fishing vessel called for help six miles east of Fife Ness just before 2200hrs on the Monday. It took the lifeboat an hour to battle through stormy sea to reach the boat. The lifeboat crew set up a tow and the boats made the slow and challenging journey back to the shelter of Anstruther Harbour. Both boats arrived back in Anstruther just after 0400hrs.

Image by RNLI

Coastwatch St Monans

Coastwatch St Monans station has now achieved Declared Facility Status with HM Coastguards. The St Monans team under the command of Station Manager John Kinsman was set up in 2009 and has a team of 9 volunteers. Receiving The Declared Facility Status from the SEA SAFETY GROUP is a great achievement for the St Monans team who work 24/7 to keep the us safe on our harbours, beaches, cliffs and seas.