Ferry services to Scottish islands face further fortnight of disruption after Pentalina grounding

The grounding of the Pentalina will disrupt ferry services to Orkney at least for another fortnight

Ferry services on Orkney face will be disrupted for a further fortnight following the grounding of a Pentland Ferries vessel last month.

Services between Gills Bay on the mainland and St Margaret's Hope on Orkney are being cancelled until Sunday, May 21, the ferry operator announced.

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It comes after the Pentalina ran aground at St Margaret's Hope on April 29 with 60 passengers on board.

MV Pentalina. Picture: PAMV Pentalina. Picture: PA
MV Pentalina. Picture: PA

No one was hurt in the incident, which is continuing to be investigated.

Initial reports suggest the ferry suffered from a "sudden mechanical failure", the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said.

Pentland Ferries said in a statement on its website on Sunday: "We are grateful for the many expressions of concern and support following the grounding of MV Pentalina last Saturday (April 29).

"On the back of these, we would like to confirm that MCA and MAIB (Marine Accident Investigation Branch) investigations are still ongoing.

"We regret that we are now cancelling all passenger bookings on the St Margaret's Hope to Gills Bay route up to and including Sunday, May 21. All booked passengers are being contacted directly.

"We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience. We are doing all we can to minimise the disruption and will share any further updates as and when we can.

An additional Sunday return service has been added to the timetable of the Northlink ferry service between Stromness on Orkney and Scrabster on the mainland until June 25.

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Jamie Halcro Johnston, the Scottish Conservative's business, trade, tourism and enterprise spokesman, said: "This delay will be disappointing news for both Orcadians and for the visitors who make a vital contribution to the islands' economy.

"I know Pentland Ferries will be working hard to get their service back up and running as soon as possible, but while the Pentalina's grounding may have been down to mechanical failure, it was only being used because the route's regular vessel, the MV Alfred, has been lent to CalMac to plug gaps in its ageing fleet on the west coast.

"The SNP Government's failure to deliver new vessels is a betrayal of our island communities which continues to have a devastating impact. Yet, despite inexcusable delays and many millions of public money wasted, they are no closer to resolving this national scandal."

Two ferries being built at Ferguson Marine in Port Glasgow for CalMac are hugely over budget and heavily delayed.

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