The search for the crew of the overturned cargo ship Cemfjord is set to resume on Sunday morning.
The Cypriot-registered vessel, reported to be carrying eight crew when she overturned, was found by passing NorthLink ferry Hrossey in the Pentland Firth on Saturday.
Tug ship Herakles stayed in the area overnight to illuminate the scene and warn other shipping, but the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the overnight search was limited to vessels travelling through the area.
Shetland Coastguard had been coordinating the search and rescue operation, but none of the eight crew – seven Polish and one Filipino – had been found as it fell dark.
The upturned hull of Cemfjord, which was carrying a cargo of cement, was found by the Hrossey at about 2.30pm but there had been no distress call from the ship. The last confirmed sighting of her was about 1pm on Friday.
The vessel’s owner, Brise of Hamburg, issued a statement in the aftermath of the “severe accident”.
It stated: “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 of seven [includes] seven Polish seafarers and one Filipino mariner. The company is in the process of informing the families.
“The upturned hull of what Cemfjord seen by a local ferry and, in response, Shetland Coastguard mounted a major search and rescue operation. The search continued Throughout Saturday and will resume at first light [on Sunday].”
The vessel had loaded a cargo of 2,000 tonnes of cement at Aalborg, Denmark, and was proceeding to Runcorn where she was due on Monday.
As well as the Hrossey four lifeboats, two rescue helicopters and other vessels were involved in searching for the crew on Saturday afternoon.
The two helicopters and four lifeboats have resumed their search, according to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, and will be joined by coastguard rescue teams from Kirkwall, St Margarets Hope, Duncansby, Scrabster and Wick. HMS Somerset and her helicopter have also joined the search.
Following her involvement Hrossey’s arrival in Aberdeen was delayed and was late departing for Lerwick. Her arrival is estimated at 1pm.