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All passengers safe and well after ferry runs aground

All 60 passengers have been rescued and brought back to land safe and well after a ferry ran aground.

RNLI vessels went to the scene after the MV Pentalina issued a Mayday broadcast off Orkney on Saturday evening.

Pentland Ferries said smoke was detected in the engine room before the MV Pentalina became grounded at the village of St Margaret’s Hope.

Sixty passengers, including three children and an infant, were evacuated from the ferry, as well as some of the crew.

It is understood eight crew members have remained on the vessel to help manage the situation.

MV Pentalina
The MV Pentalina serves the route from the mainland to Orkney (Alamy/PA)

The coastguard said: “St Margaret’s Hope, Stromness and Kirkwall Coastguard rescue teams, alongside Stromness and Longhope RNLI lifeboats, responded to a passenger vessel reporting a fire and having subsequently grounded, with minor water ingress, near St Margaret’s Hope at approximately 7.30pm.

“A Mayday broadcast was issued. The fire was extinguished and passengers were evacuated by lifeboat to St Margaret’s Hope, where they were met by the Scottish Ambulance Service and Police Scotland.

“All passengers have been reported safe and well.”

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

A statement from Pentland Ferries on Saturday evening said smoke was detected in the engine room before the vessel grounded, adding: “The safety of our passengers is, of course, our first priority.”

The ferry company later said: “All passengers that were onboard MV Pentalina tonight are safe and are either at home or at their accommodation.

“Our customer services team are contacting all customers that are due to travel. Further updates will follow.”

An RMT union spokesman said: “A thorough investigation will be needed to establish how this major incident aboard the Pentland Ferries vessel occurred.”

Scotland’s transport minister Kevin Stewart tweeted on Saturday evening 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”.

Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston tweeted: “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.”