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Pentland Ferries thanks emergency services as bow damage confirmed

The managing director of Pentland Ferries has shared her heartfelt thanks to emergency services and others in the community for their support amid the grounding of mv Alfred.

It has also been confirmed, after an initial inspection that the port bulbous bow has sustained impact damage.

The vessel, with 84 passengers and 13 crew on board, grounded with the starboard hull and the stern of the ship remained afloat. After confirmation that the ship was not suffering any water ingress, it was floated off unaided and made way to St Margaret’s Hope under its own engine power.

Managing director of Pentland Ferries, Helen Inkster, said: “Our first priority is the safety of our passengers and, as such, the crew were quick to implement the safety procedures for which they have been trained. Emergency services were called and passengers mustered as per protocol.

“Unfortunately, the impact of the ship grounding did lead to a few passengers sustaining injuries. We understand that the situation onboard the vessel remained calm and we thank everyone for their patience and cooperation in difficult circumstances and very much appreciate all those who came forward to offer their assistance.

“On arrival in St Margaret’s Hope, passengers were taken to the Cromarty Hall until the vessel and decks were assessed for damage and vehicles could be retrieved.

“We are very grateful for the prompt action, support and assistance of the emergency services, including HM Coastguard Services, RNLI Longhope and Thurso lifeboats, Police, Ambulance Services and Orkney Marine Services.

“We also very much appreciate the immediate assistance of the Cromarty Hall, Murray Arms Hotel, Maynes Coaches, Leask Marine, Orkney Local Emergency Co-ordinating Group and, of course, our own crew and shoreside team who did an exceptional job in difficult and concerning circumstances.

“An internal investigation into the incident is ongoing. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency arrived in Orkney yesterday (July 6) and the Marine Accident Investigation Branch will arrive today (July 7).

“We very much regret the inevitable impact this has had on those onboard and also for all those with travel plans that have been disrupted. We are working hard to limit the ongoing disruptions and we thank everyone for their understanding.”

Pentland Ferries has been forced to extend the suspension of sailings up to and including July 17. Service is expected to resume on Monday July 18.

The company is making contact with those that were due to travel and providing an automatic refund.

Pentland Ferries has offered its sincere apologies for the disruption to travel and wishes to assure passengers that every effort is being made to resolve the situation as soon as possible.

This includes exploring an option to bring the MV Pentalina back into service, following a pre-scheduled period in dry dock.