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Pentland Ferries has announced that there will be a short delay in the MV Pentalina returning to service on the Pentland Firth route.

Managing Director of Pentland Ferries, Helen Inkster, said: “Despite our very best efforts, I can confirm that the passenger ship safety certificate has not been issued by MCA this week as we had hoped. A very rigorous inspection of the vessel has continued over recent days and while we have been able to deal with the majority of issues identified in the inspection, there remain items that we cannot resolve in time for the vessel to return to Orkney this weekend.

“Over recent weeks, events that were outwith our control have hampered progress. The initial plan for dry docking in Greenock – thus allowing ample time for MCA to survey the vessel and any deficiencies to be addressed before returning to service – unfortunately had to be abandoned as the work could not be completed within our time slot. An alternative dry dock in Belfast was sourced and the ship was due to be docked on 8 March. This was pushed back to 28 March as a result of a delay to the vessel ahead of us vacating the dock. These delays took us into the Easter break when there was a shortage of yard workers available to complete the works. The next issue related to the resealing of the shafts, which led to flooding being abandoned and a wait for a weather window to place the vessel back on the blocks, bringing subsequent delays to the completion of the survey by MCA.

“It is essential that our vessels meet all safety standards and we are grateful to both MCA for their very thorough inspection and to the crew of MV Pentalina for the unwavering support and hard work during this time.

“We have worked tirelessly to achieve the deadline for the commencement of the MV Alfred’s charter to CalMac and I very much regret that there will now be a short delay to the planned date for releasing the vessel.

“We will be doing everything we can to minimise the delay, but in the meantime MV Alfred will continue to operate our service between Orkney and mainland Scotland.”