Ferry MV Suilven sinks in Suva, Fiji

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

MV Suilven off Scotland in 1979.
Image: Dr Neil Clifton.

MV Suilven, a ferry in service in Fiji, capsized and sank in Suva Harbour today.

Around thirty people, all crewmembers, were on board. Local media report all were rescued. The 41-year-old vessel previously saw service in Scotland and New Zealand.

The ship capsized early this afternoon and sank within an hour. It had been converted from passenger to cargo use following its most recent sale, to Venu Shipping in 2012 or 2011. Local reports indicated police, the Navy, local tug boats, and volunteer rescuers all attended the accident.

The converted ferry reportedly began to list on entering the harbour. It was working a route carrying cargo between Suva and the Northern Division.

Built in Norway, in service from 1974, the ship served with Scottish ferry firm Caledonian MacBrayne until 1995, connecting the mainland town of Ullapool to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. It was ultimately replaced by a larger, faster vessel and was sold to Strait Shipping who used it until 2004 to ply New Zealand's seas, connecting Wellington to Picton and to Nelson.

The name MV Suilven is in reference to the Suilven mountain in Scotland's Sutherland region.


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