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The Ronja Viking, pictured with a Coastguard helicopter during an exercise off Sumburgh Head. Photo: Ronnie Robertson/Wikimedia
The Ronja Viking, pictured with a Coastguard helicopter during an exercise off Sumburgh Head. Photo: Ronnie Robertson/Wikimedia

A navigation error caused the Solvtrans vessel Ronja Viking to ground when she was due to load fish from a Scottish Salmon Company site in the Outer Hebrides earlier this year, the Norwegian Maritime Directorate has concluded.

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The conclusion appears in documents from the Directorate and Sølvtrans, which fishfarmingexpert.com’s sister site, kyst.no, has gained access to.

The Directorate summarises that the grounding occurred at low speed, and that it was because the navigator had misinterpreted the map image in the electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS). Sea depth data were not visible as they were obscured by another symbol.

The Ronja Viking's hull had to be repaired after the grounding. Photo: Sølvtrans
The Ronja Viking's hull had to be repaired after the grounding. Photo: Sølvtrans

“The shallow area was unmarked visually, but shows 0.3 m depth in the map when the symbol is removed,” the Norwegian Maritime Directorate writes.

On February 27 this year, Ronja Viking was to load fish from the SSC’s Kyles of Vuia site, off Great Bernera, close to Lewis and Harris.

None of the crew aboard the wellboat had been to the site before.

One hour before expected arrival, the captain, in consultation with the mate, left the route to go outside the islets in the area for a safer trip.

Four minutes before arrival it was decided that the rest of the journey towards the facility would be manoeuvred by hand. Arrival time was set at 15.30.

The mate took a trip to the toilet after this decision. According to the report, the mate suddenly heard a crash and ran up to the bridge. The time was 15.30 and the boat had grounded.

Ronja Viking is 57 metres long and 12 metres wide, with a load capacity of over 1,000 cubic meters. No people were injured during the incident, but the vessel was damaged.