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Feb 01,2008
Trawler wrecked on remote Scottish island
by UPI

STORNOWAY, Scotland - After 14 Spanish fishermen were rescued Friday from a trawler wrecked on a remote Scottish island, traps were set to make sure no rats would get ashore.

The Spinning Dale was driven on the rocks of Hirta in the St. Kilda group, a World Heritage Site because of its seabird colonies, The Scotsman reported. A Coast Guard helicopter lifted the crew off the boat shortly after dawn, waiting until there was enough light to operate safely.

Once the fishermen were safe, the National Trust for Scotland -- which owns the group of islands 44 miles west of the outer Hebrides -- became concerned about the future of nesting colonies of Atlantic puffins, fulmars, Leach's storm petrels and the world's largest colony of northern gannets. The birds nest on the ground on the treeless islands, where the only land mammals are sheep and a subspecies of mouse.

Soldiers stationed on Hirta put down the traps late Friday.

Capt. Liz Forsyth, who commanded the rescue operation, said the trawler was driven hard against the rocks.

"We had to put the winchman on the bow because the back of the boat was under the water," she said. "The main problem was for the winchman, who was having the waves crashing over this head. He had bruises up his arm just from hanging on to the deck as each wave went through."

© 2008 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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