A MAJOR search is underway in the seas between between Orkney and Shetland for a man lost overboard from the Northern Isles passenger ferry.
The Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Sumburgh, together with lifeboats from Shetland and Orkney have joined in the search for the missing passenger from the NorthLink Ferry MV Hrossey
The search is being focussed in an area South west of Fair Isle.
A spokesman for NorthLink said: “We can confirm that a search is under way in the North Sea after a report of a man overboard from the MV Hrossey between Orkney and Shetland. The captain of the MV Hrossey was notified about the incident at approximately 4am this morning and immediately turned the vessel back to begin the search. A Coastguard helicopter is also involved in the search near Fair Isle.“
The Hrossey left Aberdeen at 5pm yesterday, bound for Orkney and Shetland. The ferry left Kirkwall in Orkney shortly after midnight and was originally due to dock at Lerwick in Shetland at 7.30am.
The NorthLink spokesman said: “The MV Hrossey left Kirkwall with 172 passengers aboard, including 21 children. NorthLink Ferries is liaising with the relevant authorities regarding this incident, including the police.”
A spokesman for Aberdeen Coastguard said that three lifeboats were now involved in the search for the missing man - the RNLI lifeboats from Kirkwall, Stromness and Lerwick. Also assisting are the Government’s fishery protection vessel Jura and a number of oil service vessels in the area. All vessels within a two mile radius have been asked to assist in the search.
He said: “The ferry itself is also still on scene.”
The search is being concentrated on an area 17 miles South west of Fair Isle and 35 miles North east of Kirkwall.
Last month Craig Townsley, 22, from Shetland, was lost overboard from another NorthLink passenger ferry, the MV Hjaltland, while the vessel was sailing from Shetland to Aberdeen.