Update 13.08.22: ALFRED left Belfast on 11.08.22 after repairs were completed and returned to service between Gills Bay and St Margaret’s Hope yesterday evening, allowing relief vessel PENTALINA to stand down.
Harland & Wolff dry-docking follows grounding incident
An unusual visitor sailed into Belfast Lough this morning following a two-day journey from the Orkney Islands. The Pentland Ferries catamaran ALFRED is visiting Harland & Wolff Belfast following a grounding incident on 5 July.
Services on Pentland Ferries’ route between Gills Bay and St Margaret’s Hope are currently suspended until 21 July while the spare ship, PENTALINA, is readied for service. At the time of writing, the latest update from the company reads as follows:
“We regret to announce that all sailings have now been suspended, up to and including Wednesday 20 July, following the grounding of MV Alfred on Tuesday 5 July. The MV Pentalina will return to service at 0745 on Thursday 21 July 2022.
If you were booked to travel from 18 to 20 July (inclusive), we will be contacting you by phone. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience.”Source: https://pentlandferries.co.uk/
During its service suspension, much of Pentland Ferries’ traffic is likely to have transferred to the state-backed Northlink Scrabster – Stromness and Aberdeen – Kirkwall routes. The company has added additional late evening sailings on the Stromness route in response to the Pentland Ferries suspension.
While there was no water ingress as a result of the grounding on the uninhabited island of Swona, damage was caused to the port-side bow of the £14m catamaran. There were 84 passengers and 13 crew on board ALFRED when the incident happened in calm conditions at around 2pm. The starboard side of the vessel remained afloat throughout the incident.
Both internal and Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) investigations are underway.
After an assessment was completed to check the integrity of the vessel, ALFRED was able to be refloated unaided. By this stage, 45 passengers had already been evacuated from the vessel as a precaution. The remainder were able to travel onboard the vessel to St Margaret’s Hope. While two tugs were present as an escort, ALFRED completed the journey under her own power.
Presently there is no public indication of when ALFRED will leave Belfast for Scotland. On arrival this morning at around 9am, the Vietnamese-built ferry went straight into Belfast Dry Dock.