Investigation after ferry crashes into harbour

An investigation is underway after a ferry crashed into a harbour wall and ran aground in the Western Isles.

Police are appealing for any witnesses following the incident. Stock image

The MV Hebrides careered into pontoons at Lochmaddy marina in North Uist before hitting the seabed. No one was injured in the incident, which took place shortly after 11am this morning.

The vessel, which had 76 passengers and crew on board, was making the routine crossing from Tarbert on Harris when it encountered a technical failure, meaning it was unable to slow down as it prepared to dock.

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Services have been cancelled for the day with Caledonian MacBrayne warning of continuing disruption until Tuesday at the earliest.

In a statement, the firm said: “The incident occurred at 11.05am as MV Hebrides, travelling from Tarbert on Harris, was approaching Lochmaddy Port. A technical failure led to the vessel being unable to to reduce speed sufficiently for the routine docking procedures and she struck both pontoons in Lochmaddy harbour and the seabed.

“No one was injured and the vessel’s hull remains intact. A total of 76 passengers and crew were on board, as well as 13 cars, one lorry and one motorhome. She is now alongside safely at Lochmaddy. All passengers and vehicles have been disembarked and alternative routes for all those affected are being investigated.”

It added: “A team of divers is on its way to make underwater investigations of the hull and a full inquiry into what happened has been launched. Travel on the Uig-Tarbert-Lochmaddy route is disrupted and likely to remain so for some time, a minimum of 48 hours.”

The company advised passengers to check its website and social media channels for updates on alternative plans, or to call 0800 066 5000. It will directly contact those passengers with reservations for the affected route in order to arrange alternative travel.