SHETLAND coastguard is coordinating a major search and rescue operation in the eastern end of the Pentland Firth following reports of an overturned ship with eight people on board.
Lifeboats from Stromness, Longhope, Scrabster and Wick as well as two search and rescue helicopters are searching for the missing crew.
The cement carrier Cemfjord was last seen at Friday lunchtime.
The overturned hull of the 83 metre vessel was spotted by the NorthLink ferry Hrossey on Saturday afternoon but there were no survivors in the immediate vicinity.
Managers of the vessel, Brise of Hamburg, confirmed in a statement on Saturday evening that the vessel’s crew of eight was missing.
“No distress call was received from the vessel. Bad weather prevailed in the area at the time and conditions remain difficult at the scene, with storm force winds.
“The crew consists of seven Polish seafarers and one Filipino mariner. The company is in the process of informing the families,” the company said.
The search has been stood down overnight and will resume at first light on Sunday.
Built in 1984, the vessel had loaded a cargo of 2,000 tonnes of cement at Aalborg, Denmark, and was on her way to the UK port of Runcorn.
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