End of an era for Dutch visits to Fraserburgh

Stuart Ross, Mark Zuidweg, Ryan Kalis, Hilkon van der Laan, Joost Rekers, Jeroen van Ureedendaal, Bruno Zonderop, John Geel, Coxswain Vic Sutherland, Stephen Brown, William McDonald, and Kira Downie.
Stuart Ross, Mark Zuidweg, Ryan Kalis, Hilkon van der Laan, Joost Rekers, Jeroen van Ureedendaal, Bruno Zonderop, John Geel, Coxswain Vic Sutherland, Stephen Brown, William McDonald, and Kira Downie.

A group of volunteers from the Dutch lifeboat service have visited Fraserburgh for the last time, last year’s storms proving to be the death knell for a Stonehaven charity.

For a number of years, groups from the Netherlands based KNMR have undertaken week-long courses at the Marine Rescue Institute in Stonehaven and a visit to Fraserburgh Lifeboat station has always been one of the highlights.

At some point during the week, usually a Wednesday or Thursday evening the group of Dutch volunteers head North to meet up with their Scottish counterparts in Fraserburgh for some collaborative training - both onshore and at
sea.

A spokesman for the Dutch group said: “The exchange of information, and discussion on different conditions faced by the different services, the sharing of insights, and notes about differences in equipment, technique and procedures have always been very productive.

“We always get a warm welcome at Fraserburgh and we really appreciate the time and effort that Coxswain Vic Sutherland and his crew put in to always making our visit a very rewarding
one.

“These visits have very much became a tradition over the years and we always look forward to our trip to Fraserburgh, and it is very sad that they have come to and end.”

The visits, however, have ended because the Maritime Rescue Institute has been forced to close.

The charity had faced a huge financial challenge after its fleet of boats and headquarters sustained extensive damage during the storms which battered the North-east in December and has been forced to shut
down.

The recent visit by the Dutch crew to Fraserbrugh was the last training course to be completed by the group.