A cargo ship ran aground on rocks in the Western Isles just hours after an emergency coastguard tug which could have rescued it had been withdrawn following funding cuts.
The MV Flinterspirt went too close to the east side of North Uist while heading south down the Minch.
The 4500-tonne Dutch bulk carrier was on its way to Belfast from Sweden with a cargo of wood when it hit rocks on Flodday Mor on the very south east tip of North Uist around 10.45pm on Monday night during a strong south west wind.
The Stornoway coastguard tug was withdrawn from duty at the weekend leaving the Minches without any emergency rescue vessel cover.
The UK government has cut funding and a meeting between the Scottish Office and Western Isles Council on Monday did not receive any commitment to reinstate the tug.
The government says it is up to the maritime industry to provide a commercial salvage vessel in coastal waters.
The ten crew on board the Flinterspirt are unharmed and though her captain has reported that there is no water ingress, an inspection of the vessel is required to ensure there is no hidden cracks to her hull following the grounding on the rocks.
An official maritime accident investigation is now expected to be launched and the vessel has been required to sail to Stornoway so an underwater survey can be carried out.
The 112-metre long vessel is now steaming at about five knots and is being escorted by Stornoway lifeboat which took over from the Barra RNLI crew who were called out to the emergency late last night.