Ferry runs aground on Orkney after smoke detected in engine room

A ferry company has said all passengers are safe after one of its vessels ran aground on Orkney.

Pentland Ferries said the MV Pentalia became grounded at the village of St Margaret’s Hope.

Smoke was detected in the engine room before the incident. An RNLI lifeboat is understood to have been sent to the scene at around 8.30pm.

The RMT union described it as a “major incident” and said the vessel was taking on water.

The Pentalia returned to service earlier this week to allow another ferry, MV Alfred, to service CalMac routes on the west coast.

A statement from Pentland Ferries said: “The MV Pentalina is grounded in St Margaret’s Hope. The vessel has 56 adults, three children and an infant on board. All are safe.

“The emergency services are in attendance. Smoke was detected in the engine room, before the vessel grounded.

“The safety of our passengers is, of course, our first priority.”

An RMT spokesman said: “We are aware of a major incident onboard the MV Pentalina which has run aground, taking on water with a fire in the engine room.

“RNLI lifeboats have been dispatched and all of the ferry’s passengers and crew are reported to be safe.

“A thorough investigation will be needed to establish how this major incident aboard the Pentland Ferries vessel occurred.”

Transport Minister Kevin Stewart tweeted that he was “sorry” to hear of the incident, but that “all on board are safe and well and that emergency services are in attendance”.

MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston tweeted about the Pentalia incident, saying: “This is the boat which has been brought back into service to allow CalMac to charter the MV Alfred on the west coast routes.

“Hoping crew and passengers are OK, and everyone is able to get off safely.”