The much-anticipated arrival of Amble RNLI's new Shannon-class lifeboat has been delayed after it developed engine trouble en route from Poole in Dorset.
The state-of-the-art vessel was scheduled to arrive at the station tomorrow (Wednesday), after a major fund-raising drive to help pay for her, but the team announced yesterday evening that the homecoming would be postponed 'owing to an issue with its engine which developed on passage to Amble'.
The RNLI has said that a new arrival date will be announced as soon as possible.
The RNLI statement said: "A specialist team has assessed the engine today (Monday, October 10) and has ascertained that the Shannon will need to return to the charity’s All-Weather Lifeboat Centre in Poole, Dorset, for the necessary repair to take place.
"However, training will continue at Amble RNLI using the relief Shannon which is currently on station. This will ensure a seamless handover to the station and volunteer crew when the new lifeboat’s rescheduled arrival is confirmed which is expected in the near future."
Katrina Cassidy, chairman of Amble Lifeboat Fund-raisers, posted: "I'm sorry to say that the arrival of the Shannon has been delayed to Amble - for the information of anybody who intended to travel on Wednesday.”
Today, she added: “We are very disappointed that the arrival of the Shannon has been delayed, especially as a lot of people were coming to see her into the town, with some coming from a great distance.
“But, safety is paramount and it is important that the problem is rectified before the Shannon arrives in Amble.”
Excitement had been growing in the town after the expected arrival date of the new lifeboat was announced in July.
In June, the Gazette reported that £200,000 had been collected towards the cost of the vessel, which will be named Elizabeth and Leonard, in memory of a couple whose legacy has helped to fund the £2million total.
The Shannon will replace Amble’s current all-weather Mersey-class lifeboat, The Four Boys, which is reaching the end of her operational life. It is the most agile in the RNLI fleet and is capable of 25 knots, making it 50 per cent faster than the lifeboats it replaces.