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Ferry carrying nearly 100 passengers across Pentland Firth refloated after running aground

The MV Alfred has run aground.
The MV Alfred has run aground.

A ferry carrying 97 passengers ran aground on an island off Orkney today.

Lifeboats from Thurso and Longhope were launched shortly after 2pm, to help evacuate passengers and crew from the MV Alfred.

The ETV Ievoli Black was sent to provide a tow – but the vessel was refloated after 90 minutes and made its way to St Margaret’s Hope on the Orkney Islands.

At the time the vessel refloated, more than half of the 97 passengers onboard had been rescued.

The Pentland Ferries vessel ran aground on the uninhabited island of Swona, west of South Ronaldsay, during its afternoon scheduled crossing.

A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesman said: “At approximately 2pm today HM Coastguard were alerted to a passenger ferry carrying 97 people on board having gone aground on the Isle of Swona.

“Thurso and Longhope all-weather lifeboats were sent to provide safety cover and begin evacuating the passengers from the ferry to the lifeboat while the ETV Ievoli Black was sent to provide a tow if required.

“The vessel was refloated within an hour and a half before continuing, under its own power, to St Margaret’s Hope.”

It was escorted by the two lifeboats as well as two tugs from Orkney.

The spokesman continued: “Coastguard rescue teams from Kirkwall and St Margaret’s Hope were also sent to meet the vessel at port.”

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