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Ferry forced into evasive action to avoid Kirkwall collision

Kirkwall Harbour
Kirkwall Harbour

Northern isles ferry operator Serco NorthLink has finally acknowledged its vessel Hrossey with 500 passengers on board was forced to swerve to avoid colliding with another ship as it approached Kirkwall harbour in thick fog.

Passengers on board the ferry said the boat lurched sideways, causing glasses and bottles to smash in the bar area and people outside on deck to be pushed against the wall.

And one witness said they came so close to the other vessel they were avoiding that you could have spat on it.

NorthLink issued a statement yesterday saying they had been forced to take action avoid the other vessel.

“MV Hrossey approached Hatston Pier in thick fog on Friday and manoeuvred to ensure safe passing distance from an anchored vessel, causing the vessel to list more than normal,” the company said.

“All the correct procedures for operating in restricted visibility were followed and the vessel was travelling at a safe speed.”

Meanwhile Orkney Islands Council, who operate the harbour at Kirkwall, said no incidents or near misses had been reported to them.

The Hrossey was stopping at Kirkwall halfway through its journey from Lerwick to Aberdeen when the incident occurred.

Some passengers are calling for an investigation into the incident they said was “frightening” and “scary”.

Hazel Bruce, said:

“With the nature of the boats that we have, if we’d hit that boat I wouldn’t like to think what would have happened,” she said.

“The journey was flat clam, but suddenly I was aware of being pushed to the left-hand side and I also heard the sound of crashing glasses and bottles in the bar.

“Bearing in mind that it was flat calm, we knew there was something not quite right.

“My friend, who was outside at the time getting some fresh air, basically got pushed against a wall. He could see the red boat that we were, I think, swerving to avoid.

“It was really, really thick fog but he said we were so close to the boat that you could’ve spit and it would have hit the boat.”

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