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Work begins to aid stranded ship in Pentland Firth

Work is under way to offload some of the cargo and fuel oil from the ship which is stranded on rocks in the Pentland Firth.

Once this is carried out, a salvage team is confident it will be able to refloat the Priscilla whose six-strong crew remain aboard the 291ft long vessel which has been hard aground the Pentland Skerries for the past week.

The plan of action was drawn up yesterday morning and approved by Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State’s acting representative for maritime salvage and intervention.

The Dutch-owned vessel ran on to the rocks early on Tuesday last week en route from Scandanavia to a port in Cumbria with a load of fertiliser.

The bid to refloat the 2281-tonne ship became a salvage operation after a series of unsuccessful efforts by tugs deployed by Shetland Coastguard.

At yesterday’s meeting, the consortium in charge of the salvage, involving Multraship, Ardent and Wagenborg, resolved to use barges to remove 1350 tonnes of the 3300 tonnes of bulk fertiliser and transfer it to another vessel.

Cargo ship stuck for third day after running aground

While no pollution has been reported, they also agreed to take off up to 35 tonnes of the 52 tonnes of marine gas oil on board.

The remainder of the fuel, together with two tonnes of lubricating oil, will be needed for ship services.

Four tonnes of solidified heavy fuel oil is also to be kept.

The Priscilla will then be de-ballasted and refloated on high water.

After it is towed off the rocks, a brief inspection will be carried out before it is expected to be towed to Lyness harbour on the island of Hoy where it will undergo a full inspection and have any repairs carried out.

The temporary safety exclusion zone of 500 metres has meanwhile been extended to almost 1,100 yards.

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