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A major incident was declared aboard MV Isle of Lewis this afternoon (Tuesday 22 June) as fire broke out aboard a vehicle on her car deck.

The ferry’s skipper issued a ‘pan pan’ emergency call after smoke was seen coming from a campervan among the vehicles travelling from Oban to Castlebay, at 3.22pm this afternoon.

The CalMac ferry, with 113 passengers and 27 crew aboard, was at the north end of the Isle of Mull when the emergency was discovered.

Stornoway Coastguard operations centre tasked the Tobermory RNLI lifeboat to shadow the vessel as she diverted to Tobermory, and firefighters from Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) were taken aboard the lifeboat and transferred on to the ferry outside Tobermory itself.

Meanwhile CalMac diverted their own vessel MV Loch Tarbert from her passage to Craignure and she disembarked vehicles and passengers destined for that port at Tobermory.

Tobermory and Craignure Coastguard Rescue Teams went to the port to help with traffic management as MV Loch Tarbert went on to stand by alongside the Isle of Lewis, with her decks empty for any emergency evacuation of passengers.

In the event CalMac’s own crew were able to extinguish the fire using on-board firefighting equipment, disconnecting gas and electrical supply within the campervan and making the vehicle safe.

A Coastguard spokesperson said that no passengers or crew were injured and that emergency evacuation procedures were not activated. Passengers were not asked to assemble at muster stations.

The Isle of Lewis was cleared safe to proceed by SFRS and resumed passage at 5.19pm. She was due to arrive into Castlebay at 7.30pm this evening.

Damage on board the vessel was limited to the affected vehicle itself, although there could later be a safety inspection either at Barra or by withdrawing the Isle of Lewis from service for inspection.

The picture shows the Tobermory lifeboat with the Isle of Lewis (Tobermory Coastguard)  and on an earlier service (Tobermory RNLI).