Three probes launched into ferry that ran aground on Scots island

Three separate investigations into the grounding of the MV Varagen are under way.

Three investigations launched into Orkney passenger ferry that ran aground near Westray LDRS

There remains no word on when the Orkney Ferries Vessel MV Varagen will be back in action, after it ran aground near Rapness pier, Westray, last week.

Orkney Ferries’ crews and office staff have been praised for their “calm, reassuring and professional” response during the incident on Friday evening.

Three investigations are under way, which Orkney Council says is standard procedure.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch are conducting an inquiry, as well as internal investigations by Orkney Ferries and Orkney Harbours.

The council says the findings will be made available in due course.

The Varagen ran aground 100m off Rapness pier. There were no reported injuries of the 41 passengers or ten crew on board.

There was no water ingress within the Varagen or pollution outwith and the vessel was refloated and berthed at Rapness. This allowed passengers to disembark before being safely escorted by tug back to Kirkwall in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The hull of the vessel has also been surveyed by divers for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency who will decide what – if any – action is needed before she can re-enter service.

Orkney Ferries will be operating a two-ferry service in the meantime. Regular updates can be found on the Orkney Ferries web page.

The chair of Orkney Ferries, north isles councillor Mellissa Thomson, said the response from the members of the public onboard the Varagen during the incident had been “overwhelmingly positive”.

Councillor Thomson said: “I’d like to pay tribute to the crew for their very professional response, which included a calm and reassuring manner.

“This is exactly what is required when there is an incident of this nature. I am in no doubt that this helped those on board and their families immensely.

“This efficient response by all involved – including office-based staff – is down to the standard of training which all work to. My thanks go out to all.

“We are all entirely grateful that this incident ended as well as it did with no reported injuries and we now await the outcome of the three inquiries into what happened.”

The council’s head of marine services, transportation and harbour master, Jim Buck, said: “The staff handled the incident extremely well and ensured those on board were reassured following what must have been a frightening experience.

“The office staff rallied to deliver an efficient and professional service. They ensured those who were travelling and due to travel were prioritised throughout.

“I would also like to offer my thanks to the travelling public who remained calm throughout.

“This made the crew’s role in keeping people as informed as they could much easier.”

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