Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Additional RoRo And Freight Ferry Service Into The Orkney Isles

New Year - New Ship - New Service
Shipping News Feature

UK – Last October we detailed how, once again, Northlink Ferries, a subsidiary of the David MacBrayne group which services the far Northern reaches of Britain from Aberdeen and Scrabster to the Orkney and Shetland Isles, was holding a competition to rename their newly acquired RoRo vessel. Now, the ships identity has been confirmed and Northlink has declared she will assist in their introduction of a new freight route to Orkney.

At the naming ceremony David MacBrayne chairman Peter Timms announced that as from the 24th January a daily freight service will operate between Aberdeen and Kirkwall, the islands’ principal port. This will be the first time this route has been served since NorthLink was awarded the lifeline ferry service for the Northern Isles in 2002.

Mr Timms said:

“For some time now we’ve been consulting with the Scottish Government and examining ways in which we can improve our existing freight service. Our main freight customers – primarily those supplying the supermarkets – have been looking for a more efficient way to get produce on to the shelves in Orkney and they have been asking if we could assist them by enhancing our timetable to provide a daily Aberdeen to Kirkwall freight service. From their perspective, such a service would mean that they would no longer have to truck so many goods up the A9 to Caithness.

“Well, today I can tell you that the Scottish Government has agreed to our proposals and as of next Monday – using a combination of our two freight boats and the passenger ferries – we will be providing a daily freight service into Kirkwall from Aberdeen. We trust that is good news and that we can continue to do our bit to ensure that the people and economies of Orkney continue to flourish,” he concluded.

The new addition to the fleet was formally renamed the Helliar after the name was submitted by Rendall postman Dave Ridealgh who moved with partner Anne Gascoigne from Norfolk to their home at Evie, Orkney, six years ago. The naming competitions are only open to island residents and H is the favoured initial with the new ship joining her sisters Hildasay, Hjaltland and Hrossey.

Mr Ridealgh, who won four return ferry trips as a prize, selected the name because he is always pleased to see the lighthouse on Helliar Holm when he returns from the mainland, had his partner handsel the ship with a large dram of Orkney scotch in place of the usual champagne.

Photo: MV Helliar and MV Hildasay berthed at Hatston Pier