Ferry News

Northlink to give its ferries a 10-year uplift

NorthLink's three ro-ro passenger ferries will be taken out of service on its Orkney and Shetland routes run to undergo statutory inspection and overhaul over the January 23 March 26 period.

The vessels are now ten years old and the scope of work is more extensive so will take longer than in previous years.

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Hjatland will be out of service from February 14 to March 5

The dry-dock season will cover the two-month period from January 23 until March 26 when the three vessels MV Hamnavoe, MV Hrossey and MV Hjaltland, will each spend three weeks undergoing essential maintenance and inspection.

The dates during which individual vessels will be out of service are as follows:

:: Hamnavoe: Monday January 23 to Monday February 13
:: Hjaltland: Tuesday February 14 to Monday March 5
:: Hrossey: Tuesday March 6 to Monday March 26

As in previous years during the period when MV Hamnavoe, which operates on the Pentland Firth route, is out of service the route will be covered by MV Hjaltland.

NorthLink managing director Bill Davidson said: “We have liaised closely with stakeholders on both islands and had provided them with provisional dates and details of possible sailing arrangements to cover the period. Both islands’ councils – for different reasons – had expressed concerns about the alternative arrangements which might be put in place to cover this year’s extended dry-dock period.

“We had discussed with Scottish Government the possibility of chartering MV Hebridean Isles, from our sister company CalMac Ferries Ltd, to cover for Hamnavoe. Scottish Government officials looked very closely at this option but decided that, for budgetary reasons, the Hebridean Isles would not be used for Scrabster – Stromness cover. As a result MV Hjaltland will come off the Aberdeen run and will cover for Hamnavoe while she is away,” Mr Davidson explained.

“We appreciate that the dry-dock season invariably leads to inconvenience to customers and that the period of inconvenience will be much longer this year due to the more extensive work being done. We’ve sought to minimize the time and we apologise for the inconvenience to our customers which will inevitably arise.”

For the duration of the period when the Aberdeen route is operating with a single vessel (ie when Hjaltland is covering for Hamnavoe and whilst each of the Aberdeen route vessels is in drydock) the passenger service will run northbound on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

The southbound service will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. There will be no service in either direction on Saturdays. This is the timetable we have operated in previous years as it preserves the vessel heading in the optimum direction on the busiest nights of the weeks.

Mr Davidson added: “In order to keep essential freight flowing during the overhaul period, our freight vessels Hildasay and Helliar will operate to slightly modified timetables. This will also mean that, on days when there isn’t a passenger vessel operating, there will be a freight vessel sailing each of which has capacity for up to 12 passengers. These services have proven to be a popular option in the past.”

Posted on 28th October 2011 at 11:30 am in Ferry Operators | Northlink Ferries | Ferry News | (0) Comments

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