Passengers and cars may not be carried on Northlink Ferries’ Pentland Firth service between Scrabster and Stromness until late May after the route’s 2002-built vessel Hamnavoe suffered a main engine crankshaft failure at the end of April. The 600-passenger/110-car Hamnavoe was in dry dock at Rosyth, where holes had to be cut in the hull to allow access to the defective MAK engine.

Services resumed on 3 May after being at a standstill for more than a week, but on a freight-only basis using ro-ro Helliar, on long-term charter from Seatruck, after Northlink failed to find a suitable passenger/vehicle ferry to stand in for Hamnavoe.

‘This service ensures that businesses can continue to move goods between Orkney and the north of mainland Scotland. We are satisfied that both freight and passengers can be fully accommodated on the alternative services that have been put in place by us and with the help of other operators,’ said Northlink managing director Stuart Garrett.

Car/passenger traffic is being diverted to the Gills Bay-St Margaret’s Hope, South Ronaldsay service of Pentland Ferries, the only operator currently providing daily passenger/car services to Orkney, who have put on additional weekend crossings with the 350-passenger/35-car Philippines-built catamaran Pentalina.

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