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Tour operator shocked by boat grounding

The tour boat Alluvion being towed ashore to the SBS Base at Greenhead on Friday afternoon. Photo Ian Leask

TOUR operator George Mainland has been running boat trips around Lerwick harbour and the islands of Bressay and Noss for the past quarter of a century without incident.

So he was shocked when his 36 foot aluminium tour boat Alluvion ran aground on a submerged rock known as Score Head off the north coast of Bressay at 1.30pm on Friday.

Mainland immediately contacted Shetland coastguard who called out Lerwick lifeboat for one of their shorter rescue trips.

The skipper, his fellow crewman and 10 tourists boarded the lifeboat and were brought to safety at Lerwick’s Victoria pier. No one was injured.

Passengers being brought ashore from the Lerwick lifeboat after being rescued from the tour boat Alluvion on Friday afternoon. Photo BBC

The lifeboat also towed the Alluvion off the rocks and brought her to the SBS Base at Greenhead for the damage to be examined.

Mainland said: “We were just on the normal tour we have done for the past 25 years and we went on a submerged rock.

“It took me by surprise because it was the same route we usually take and I have gone round there dozens of times and it was a fairly high tide.”

He said the only damage to his boat was “a small split in the bow”, so she has been taken ashore and he hopes to have her back in the water as soon as possible.

Shetland coastguard said that Score Head is well marked on the sea charts in the area at the north east tip of Bressay.

General Election - 12 December 2019