The MV Hamnavoe, a ferry operated by NorthLink Ferries between Orkney and the Scottish mainland, was diverted to Bergen late on Tuesday to pick up passengers who had been advised to make their way to the Norwegian port from where they could be ensured safe passage back to Scotland.
Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said:
“This has been a successful operation which was launched to alleviate the growing problem of airline passengers stranded by the ash cloud over Europe.
“The co-operation of NorthLink and Orkney Islands Council has resulted in 157 people returning safely back to Scotland to continue their onward journeys. I would like to thank the Master and crew of the MV Hamnavoe and NorthLink’s shore staff for their efforts over the past couple of days, along with all those who have helped with this operation. I would also like to extend those thanks to all our transport operators who have worked tirelessly over this difficult period in getting the country moving again.”
The MV Hamnavoe will be leaving Aberdeen at 17.00 this afternoon to arrive at Stromness at midnight. It will then go back into normal service. Additional freight services have been scheduled while the ferry has been travelling to and from Bergen.