NORTHLINK passenger ferry MV Hrossey was forced to return to Aberdeen on Tuesday evening after water streamed into its front bar when two of its windows smashed in rough weather.
The northbound vessel, which is due to call at Kirkwall, returned to port just before 9.30pm to have its windows fixed. It is due to arrive at Lerwick at 5.15pm on Wednesday.
NorthLink confirmed that “extreme weather conditions” caused damage to windows at the front of the vessel, while officials added that there were no injuries sustained.
Passenger Euan McBride, who was near to the incident when it happened, told Shetland News he saw “seawater pouring in” to the bar after hearing a smashing sound.
The boat left Aberdeen at 5pm but it turned around off the coast of Peterhead around one and a half hours later.
“I was in the bathroom at the front of the lounge trying not to be sick due to the rocking, then heard a dramatic crashing sound,” McBride said.
“I thought it was the glassware behind the bar smashing and left to see what happened. When I came out there was another passenger who had been sleeping on one of the seats looking horrified as a window at the left of the boat had completely smashed in and there was glass everywhere and seawater pouring in the hole.”
McBride said he and his fellow passenger were asked to leave the area by staff, who later attempted to mop up water.
He added there was talk on the boat that the incident was caused by a “freak wave”.
NorthLink Ferries marine manager captain Stuart McCallum said in a statement: “We can confirm that passenger vessel MV Hrossey has returned to Aberdeen Harbour following extreme weather conditions which caused damage to the front-facing windows of the vessel located in the bar area.
“We are now working with the relevant contractors to ensure that the necessary repair work is carried out as soon as possible and that the vessel is safely prepared to continue its journey. MV Hrossey was bound for Kirkwall and Lerwick as timetabled.”
Staff upgraded passengers to cabins for the night and issued breakfast tokens.
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