The supply vessel sailed sedately into dock under the cover of darkness, 11 hours after her passengers found themselves caught up in a drama that catapulted them on to the front pages of every newspaper in the country.
Were it not for the waiting press and notable police presence, bystanders could have been forgiven for thinking the Caledonian Victory was just like any other ship arriving at Aberdeen harbour.
Yet eight hours earlier the 15 oil workers on board were being plucked from the icy waters of the North Sea in what is being described as a “miracle” rescue.
Three colleagues were flown to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary on Thursday night, but for the 15 survivors who took refuge from the waves in fragile lifeboats after escaping from their stricken Super Puma helicopter, the Caledonian Victory must have felt like a luxury liner.
Paramedics and police officers looked on from the quayside as the giant ship manoeuvred into place, while the large crowd of media corralled behind a metal gate jostled for the first glimpse of her passengers.
The incredible rescue had brought newsmen from every corner of the country to the city, and the ranks of local press were boosted by parked satellite vans beaming live link-ups back to Eamonn Holmes in the studio.
For an hour-and-a-half, the reluctant stars of the previous night’s events were checked over by paramedics and debriefed by Grampian Police.
Then, just after daybreak, the survivors and the helicopter winchman who helped save their lives finally descended the ship’s gangplank on to dry land, carrying their belongings in holdalls and plastic bags and showing little sign of the ordeal they had endured.
Aberdeen, its grey granite buildings cloaked under heavy skies, can never have seemed so welcoming.
The men filed into a waiting bus with cheery waves and thumbs-up – but a firm “no comment” – for the patient press crews before setting off on the final stage of their journeys home to the loved ones thanking their lucky stars that this real-life drama had a happy ending.