Whalsay ferry crash caused by electrical fault destroys part of Laxo pier

A suspected electrical fault caused the Whalsay ferry Linga to crash into the pier at Laxo on Wednesday morning.

The ferry, which was on the 11.15am run from Symbister, stopped responding to controls on arrival at Laxo, causing her to hit and partially destroy part of the pier.

SIC assistant marine superintendent David Polson said the problem was thought to have been caused by a fault with the Linga‘s electrical system.

“It looks like it was a problem with a combination of the controls and electronics. There is no fault with any staff member,” he said.

The 690-tonne ferry, which escaped with only a dent to her hull, has now been taken out of service and is in Lerwick waiting to be assessed by the SIC ferry services and Lloyds, the company which approved the vessel for operation.

Mr Polson said engineers from Rolls Royce, who supply the engine, would also inspect the ferry. Divers assessed damage to the Linga yesterday and discovered that one of the drive units had sustained some damage, but the full extent of this was unknown.

Mr Polson said the drive unit was expected to be removed from the ferry to be worked on on Monday. The Linga was beset by technical and computer problems after she first arrived in the isles in 2002 but for the past few years has been functioning without any major difficulties.

The cost of the damage to the pier at Laxo has not been finalised but is expected to be “approaching six figures”. A female passenger was reported to have injured her ankle during the incident but declined to comment.

In the meantime, Whalsay’s second ferry the Hendra, as well as the Thora, will run a service from Vidlin until the Laxo terminal is reopened. It was hoped this would be done by tomorrow. The Bluemull Sound ferry Fivla will also be bolstering the service on Friday.

Meanwhile, a previous decision to carry only passengers between Whalsay and the Mainland from Saturday evening to Monday morning has been cancelled. The ferry services had planned to operate a passenger only service from the old breakwater to allow “essential linkspan maintenance”. However, this will no longer go ahead.


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