A CalMac ferry has helped assist in a rescue near the coast of Ardrossan this afternoon [Thursday, August 12].

The Ardrossan Coastguard Rescue Team were called out just before 4 pm this afternoon to reports of a yacht having suffered engine failure north of Ardrossan Harbour.

The team responded immediately with CalMac Ferries Arran Ferry 'Caledonian Isles' being diverted and RNLI Troon Lifeboat being launched to assist.

As the coastguard departed the station, an update was received from Belfast Coastguard advising the situation was deteriorating with the casualty vessel being blown towards the coast and at risk of coming aground with the two persons onboard making the necessary preparations should they be required to abandon ship.

Due to the worsening situation, Coastguard Helicopter Rescue 199 was scrambled from nearby Prestwick Airport with Largs Coastguard Rescue Team and two Senior Coastal Operations Officers from Greenock also being tasked.

The coastguard took up a strategic position along Ardrossan’s North Shore with two team members fully kitted up as water rescue operators and ready for rapid deployment into the water should the vessel come aground. A suitable landing site was also identified nearby should Coastguard Helicopter Rescue 199 be required to land at any stage during the incident.

As Troon lifeboat arrived on the scene, the conditions on scene were too dangerous to take the vessel under tow with the two crew being evacuated onto Troon Lifeboat via boat-to-boat transfer with the casualty vessel had dropped anchor.

The casualties were thereafter conveyed to Ardrossan Marina with the team attending to assist the lifeboat alongside and the two casualties onto dry land. Both persons were uninjured and not requiring any medical attention.

The Arran Ferry was released to continue its passage with thanks for their assistance with Rescue 199 being stood down and returning to Prestwick Airport.

A spokesperson from the Coastguard said: "With the casualties safely ashore, some team members have returned to Ardrossan North Shore with Troon Lifeboat reattending to make a further assessment of the casualty vessel to ascertain if a tow was possible to prevent any further incidents or potential pollution.

"The on-scene conditions had deteriorated further so a tow was not possible however the casualty vessel was holding strong under its anchor.

"With the casualties safe and well and the vessel at secure anchor, all search and rescue resources were subsequently stood down to return to their respective stations, with the yacht owners making alternative arrangements for the vessel to be recovered when the weather becomes suitable.

"Our thanks to CalMac Ferries for their assistance during this incident."

The ferry company tweeted earlier that the MV Caledonian Isles is currently responding to a mayday call and is being used as part of an ongoing rescue. 

The MV Caledonian Isles remained in its current location until the Coastguard stood down the vessel shortly after.

Calmac confirmed that the MV Caledonian Isles arrived at 5.30 pm and that the delayed 16.40 sailing would commence as soon as possible. It later canceled the next sailing from Brodick at 19.00 due to deteriorating weather conditions. 

This is an ongoing story and will be updated as we learn more.

The coastguard and CalMac have been approached for updates.