A 32-year-old man is on his way to Barra today (Tuesday May 14th) from far out in the Atlantic, for an unscheduled visit to get medical help.

And his need for care has drawn out a host of compliments for the quality of medical care and support on the island, from earlier visitors posting on social media.

The man is to be put ashore in Castlebay tomorrow (Wednesday May 15th) after crushing his thumb midway through a research voyage over the deep sea Rockall trench.

Stornoway Coastguard took a call this morning at 5.45am from the skipper of the Marine Research Vessel (MRV) Scotia, conducting fisheries research on behalf of Marine Scotland, with 12 scientists and 17 crew aboard.

The skipper was patched through to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for medical advice.

Although the injury is not classed as serious, the Scotia is now heading for Castlebay, where the casualty will be dropped off. He’ll get advice from medical staff there before heading onwards via Glasgow to Aberdeen.

Members of the social media group Isle of Barra have posted encouragement to concerned family members, reassuring them that the man will get the best possible care in Barra.

One said: “One of my daughters had to go to Barra Hospital after an injury on Vatersay while we were on holiday. Both she and her sister were looked after extremely well - well beyond the norms for the NHS.” And another added: “I was there three weeks ago, and the care was the best I’ve ever experienced in a hospital. Wonderfully caring, knowledgeable staff.”

Operating from the port of Aberdeen, MRV Scotia is used for fish stock assessment and environmental monitoring in the North Sea and North Atlantic. Much of the unit's experimental work uses highly specialised or custom-built monitoring equipment.

Picture of MRV Scotia from Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS)