Calmac Ferry Crews Targeted In Laser Attacks
5 April 2017, 12:03
Two ferry crews have been targeted in "dangerous'' laser attacks as they docked.
Both incidents took place at Wemyss Bay, Inverclyde, as the Isle of Bute ferry from Rothesay was going through berthing procedures at dusk.
The bridge crews of Caledonian MacBrayne vessels MV Argyle and MV Bute were hit by an intense green laser on both occasions.
In the first incident at about 8.15pm on March 31, the bridge crew of MV Argyle was dazzled by a beam which was shone directly into the bridge for a prolonged period during docking manoeuvres.
The master was forced to reduce speed further than usually required, though the docking procedure was "safely and expertly concluded'', the company said.
The second incident took place on April 1 when a powerful laser was shone directly into the bridge as MV Bute was preparing to dock at about 8.10pm.
CalMac said the master and crew were able to avert their eyes and brought the vessel safely alongside but the incident caused "considerable distraction at a crucial time''.
None of the crew sustained any injuries.
Robbie Drummond, CalMac's director of service delivery, said: "I cannot emphasise enough how dangerous such utterly irresponsible behaviour is.
"As well as posing an issue of immediate harm to our crews, these actions are illegal and an offence under the Merchant Shipping Act - they also have the potential to jeopardise the safety of passengers on board and, ultimately, the vessels.
"That may be blunt but it is absolutely a fact and we condemn the actions of this reckless person or persons in the strongest terms.
"I commend our highly-experienced crews for dealing with both incidents with consummate professionalism and expertise.''
CalMac said Police Scotland, Clydeport and Belfast Coastguard have been notified about the incidents.
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that Police Scotland is investigating these incidents, which are utterly reckless. Thankfully, no-one was injured during these incidents.
"Those who carry out this type of act should be aware of the danger that they pose.''
Anyone who witnessed either or both of these incidents, or who has relevant information, is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101.