The Shetland Times » The Shetland Times Shetland News, Sport, Jobs, Properties, Shop Mon, 21 Dec 2015 15:11:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 First of troublesome tug duo is sold to Italy Mon, 21 Dec 2015 15:11:21 +0000 One of the two Shetland Islands Council tugs at Sullom Voe which proved so controversial after being introduced a few years has now been sold.

The Solan will shortly head off to Italy after being bought by Venice-based towage company Panfido. It is understood that she is to be used in the port of Naples.

According to the SIC the company was also moving ahead on purchasing the sister vessel Bonxie, which is expected to leave Shetland in February.

The council was not willing to disclose the purchase price of the two vessels due to “commercial sensitivities”. But apparently the authority’s shipbrokers had confirmed that, in their professional opinion, the agreement represented an “above-market valuation” of the tugs.

SIC harbour board chairwoman Andrea Manson said: “I’m extremely pleased that we have reached agreement on the sale of the Solan and Bonxie.

“They were commissioned at a time when business at the port was very different, and they have posed problems for us in the past.

“I’m satisfied that we have managed to secure the best possible return for these two vessels, especially given the downturn we are currently witnessing in the oil and gas industry.”

Infrastructure services director Maggie Sandison added: “The life extension to the port of Sullom Voe means we need to review future infrastructure requirements to support the oil industry’s anticipated business going forward.

“The council is also considering the most appropriate future operational model for the port’s activities in response to this changed business environment.”

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Man accused of assaulting partner released on bail Mon, 21 Dec 2015 15:03:52 +0000 A Lerwick resident has been released on bail after allegedly assaulting his partner and verbally abusing her.

The case against Anthony Jamieson, 51, of Stouts Court, was continued without plea when he appeared from custody today before honorary sheriff Willie Shannon.

He was released on special conditions until 6th January.

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Archaeology article nominated for award Mon, 21 Dec 2015 11:39:33 +0000 An article about Old Scatness, inspired by an interview with Shetland archaeologist Val Turner and colleague Stephen Dockerill, has been nominated for an award.

Rewriting the Origin of the Broch Builders by Matthew Symmonds has been nominated in the Research Project of the Year category in the 2016 Current Archaeology Awards.

All nominations are based on articles and books featured within the Current Archaeology publication over the last 12 months.

Current Archaeology is a widely esteemed publication and this news is particularly welcomed on the back of the recent publication of the second research volume on Old Scatness Broch and Iron Age Village.

The book, launched earlier this month at a packed out lecture by Noel Fojut, is now available for sale from Shetland Museum and Archives or on the website at

Voting for the awards has been live from 3rd December at – it is open to everyone, and Shetland Amenity Trust would like encourage people to vote for the article.

Voting will be open until 8th February, and the winners will be announced at the Current Archaeology Live! 2016 conference, held at the University of London’s Senate House on 26-27th February. More information on the conference can be found here:

The full article can be read at

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Poor forecast means boat will leave early Mon, 21 Dec 2015 11:14:31 +0000 NorthLink’s southbound sailing tonight will be three hours earlier than scheduled because of forecasted bad weather.

The Hjaltland will now leave Lerwick at 4pm instead of the normal 7pm, with check-in times between 3pm and 3.30pm. The expected arrival in Aberdeen tomorrow will still be 7am.

According to NorthLink the northbound sailing of the Hrossey will leave on schedule at 7pm, but due to the weather tomorrow’s arrival in Lerwick could be subject to minor delay.

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Phased basis for cod (Ian Duncan) Mon, 21 Dec 2015 09:36:07 +0000 I write in response to John Tulloch’s letter: “How many turns?”

The European Parliament’s fumbling around with the discard ban that would have brought cod into the mix a year early was overturned on 11th December following the intervention of myself and colleagues in my political group.

Mr Tulloch’s confusion results from the fact that the Fishing News is a weekly paper, and things moved on during the week.

To be clear, the discard ban for demersal fish will be introduced on a phased basis, with cod included only on 1st January 2017, as per the original agreement.

Ian Duncan
Conservative MEP for Scotland,
European Parliament
Rue Wiertz 60,
1047 Brussels,

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How many more turns? (John Tulloch) Sun, 20 Dec 2015 11:42:21 +0000 Only a week ago Conservative MEP Ian Duncan was telling us how, with support from colleagues, he had intervened to delay implementation of the impending cod discard ban – a U-turn by the EU’s fisheries committee – and an impressive achievement.

However, it seems the spirit of Laurel and Hardy lives on in Brussels, for yesterday the Fishing News reported that the fisheries committee had executed a second U-turn, quashing Mr Duncan’s amendment.

Frantic efforts were reportedly under way to obtain a third 180-degree course change to convert the EU’s “S-turn” into a “W-turn”. If successful, who is to say there will not follow a fourth reversal?

On 20th December, five days before Christmas, our fishermen do not know whether the cod discard ban will be enforced on 1st January 2016.

Is there no end to the EU’s folly?

Interesting, too, that Shetland Fishermen’s Association (SFA), reaffirming commitment to Brussels, has hired a young Spanish woman to pilot them through the narrow, treacherous channels of the pork barreling EU monster.

We wish the SFA’s initiative success but have our doubts. For every expert we hire, opponents will hire another, maintaining the “stalemate”.

Hiring ever more champions to tilt at EU bureaucrats is ultimately futile. Shetland needs control of its own fishing grounds and needs it now.

Of course, we should co-operate with our EU and Scandinavian neighbours. However, it follows that we need our own seat at the table when the extent of that co-operation is discussed.

For example, SFA chief Simon Collins has described the current pelagic fishery negotiations as “hopelessly skewed” in favour of our Scandinavian neighbours. That is so because the EU represents us, not our own negotiators.

Worse, UK and Scottish ministers have failed, repeatedly, to defend Shetland’s vital interests. Fishermen routinely refer to Scottish fisheries minister Richard Lochead (SNP) as “blockheid”.

Two ways exist to escape this lunacy:
1. Britain could demand an end to the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP);
2. The UK might vote to leave the EU.

Who knows what may unfold. However, with self-rule Shetland would be able to emulate our Scandinavian neighbours by leaving the EU.

Wir Shetland needs strong support from residents. We already have more members than any of Shetland’s political parties and are continuing our recruitment drive with a presentation at Symbister Hall in Whalsay on Monday 21st December (7pm to 9pm), including our views on school closures and ferry subsidies/services, as well as fisheries management.

John Tulloch
Wir Shetland

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Jasmine retires after 24 years at Hamnavoe Primary School Sat, 19 Dec 2015 15:46:50 +0000 Jasmine Duncan is surrounded by pupils on her final day at Hamnavoe Primary School.

Jasmine Duncan is surrounded by pupils on her final day at Hamnavoe Primary School.

Burra woman Jasmine Duncan has retired from Hamnavoe Primary School after 24 years of service.

For the past nine years she has held the position of head cook.

Mrs Duncan was presented with a Shetland tweed purse and handbag set and a sum of cash by the school on her final day at work. Among the pupils currently in primary one are her two grandsons.

She also received a paperweight from the Burra and Trondra Community Council for her service to the community.

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Trouble reported at youngsters’ ‘after beanfeast’ party Sat, 19 Dec 2015 15:35:46 +0000 Complaints of trouble at an Anderson High School pupils’ “after beanfeast” party in Dunrossness have prompted the police to appeal for witnesses.

According to the police there were “numerous complaints of violent conduct, including assault” at the party, which was taking place at the Ness Boating Club premises at Sumburgh.

The incidents occurred between 3am and 4am this morning, the police said. Anyone who has information or may have seen “instances of violence or disorder” is asked to contact them at the Lerwick station.

While the annual “beanfeasts” have been a feature for many decades at the Anderson High School, and before it the Anderson Educational Institute, the “after parties” are a more recent development, with several being organised in various parts of the isles.

A Facebook appeal earlier this month was looking for a venue for this year’s AHS fifth-year party, as difficulties were being encountered with licensing concerns at country halls.

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Custody for woman who brandished knife in front of boys Fri, 18 Dec 2015 12:54:55 +0000 A woman described as a “menace” has been remanded in custody after she admitted breaching the peace and brandishing a knife in front of two teenage boys.

Sarah Patterson, 29, of Hoofields in Lerwick, was drunk when she made a nuisance of herself at the Esplanade yesterday afternoon.

At the town’s court today she admitted shouting, swearing, making threats and brandishing a knife.

Police had already spoken to her about her behaviour when she stood on the edge of the pier making a show of attempting to jump into the water.

Her antics were noticed by two boys – a 13-year-old and a 14-year-old – who were onboard a boat, and doing their best to ignore her. But she approached them and told them she was going to kill herself.

At one point she went down into the boat, placing the boys “in a heightened state of awareness”.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said Patterson soon  began shouting and swearing at the boys, and found a knife which she used to pretend she was slashing her wrists.

“These boys had no idea how to deal with the situation. In fairness, who would?” Mr MacKenzie said. “It’s difficult to properly convey and articulate just how difficult a situation she imposed upon these young boys.

“They did their best and attempted to remove the knife from her, but she pulled the knife away from them, raising it above her head, shouting and swearing at them, and they felt threatened by her brandishing the knife.”

The court heard that Patterson was later put into a taxi and taken away from the scene. The police were called, who caught up with her at her home address.

“She had a lengthy record and comes to the police’s attention on a regular basis,” the fiscal added. “Quite simply she is a menace to the police, the public and to a lesser degree herself.”

Sheriff Philip Mann ordered background reports. But he warned Patterson a custodial sentence was the likely outcome to the case.

“Because of your record and the seriousness of this offence I feel I have no alternative but to remand you in custody,” he told her.

Patterson will appear in court again on 6th January.

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Gig promoter refuses to work with Mareel’s management Fri, 18 Dec 2015 12:39:01 +0000 A music promoter who brought renowned folk singer Eddi Reader and rock and roll band the Blockheads to the isles says he will not use Lerwick venue Mareel again – unless there is a marked change in attitude towards community groups.

Jeff Merrifield

Jeff Merrifield

Jeff Merrifield, who this year launched the inaugural jazz and world music festival Jaws, says the pressure of putting on gigs and dealing with Shetland Arts’ top management means music promotion “seems to have stopped being fun”.

Mr Merrifield says local groups who organise attractions risk being priced out of the market as a result of high fee charges.

His comments have been denied by Mareel’s general manager Graeme Howell. But The Shetland Times understands bookings could fall next year because of a struggle among promoters to pay required fees.

That is despite meetings this year with Shetland Arts’ management to help thrash out a more attractive deal after earlier concerns following Mr Howell’s arrival.

Mr Merrifield said: “We put on a really wonderful festival this year, but it was a financial loss, for one reason or another.

“We’ve been having a bad time dealing with Mareel, and with them – we think – not treating us very fairly.

“There used to be, under Gwilym’s [Gibbons] regime – which was not perfect – at least a modicum of co-operation and respect for what you were trying to do. This new management don’t have that at all.

“I’m not enjoying it any more to be honest. It has become increasingly difficult to promote. Airfares going up don’t help. It’s become a really difficult financial manipulation, and it’s really difficult to keep your head above water.”

Mr Merrifield cited concerns raised following two Eddi Reader concerts in June, when the Glasgow singer performed along with the Scottish Jazz Orchestra at Mareel. He said discrepancies over how many seats had remained empty were “dismissed out of hand”.

He said: “When we got the financial returns on that we were asked to believe that in that block of 240 seats over 100 of them were empty.

“The numbers they gave us were 130 and 140. When I went to talk to him [Mr Howell] about it he just dismissed me out of hand. We were wrong and he was right. We couldn’t prove it, but we just knew it was ludicrous.”

Mr Merrifield stressed he was not alleging that any underhand activity had been taking place.

“We said, ‘we’re not saying you’ve been cheating us, but somehow more people were there than bought tickets’. Our suspicion was that their door staff weren’t very good. He [Mr Howell] just wouldn’t accept that.”

Mr Merrifield said he tried to prevent a repeat of that episode in preparations for the Blockheads gig.

“At the meeting we insisted that we put our own door staff on, and that we’d have wristbands. That was agreed. But then we got a letter the day before saying our staff are not allowed to talk to the customers.

“Then when we got the returns on that they’d taken £1,200 off us on the charge for Mareel. That’s four times what I used to pay Gwilym. It’s impossible, you can’t operate on that.”

He said his nose had been put out when he was told he could not put up banners for the Blockheads’ concert.

“I went out into the auditorium and there were three banners for the same bloody film.

“It’s diminishing what local community promoters can do. It’s being priced out of the reach of the local community.”

Mr Merrifield stressed that the Jaws festival would continue, but that organisers would not use Mareel unless there were assurances over community awareness.

“It’s our intention at the moment not to use Mareel again until things are healed.”

He said there was a possibility of using the Clickimin Centre in the future.

“What a shame, that we have to go back to using what there was before Mareel was built,” Mr Merrifield added.
Another promoter, Davie Gardner, said a seemingly amicable agreement had been reached with management, although it remained to be seen, in practice, whether things would turn out for the better.

“From my point of view, the concerns I had are at least rectified. I guess I have to try it out in anger and see if it actually works.

“It’s certainly very different from Gwylim and there’s been a huge change of regime. The dealings I had with Graeme were very much in terms of the financial element of what he was proposing, and the first set of proposals he tabled certainly wasn’t acceptable to me. But in fairness to him he went away and changed that.

“Any concerns I had have been hopefully addressed, but I’ll not be so sure until the new year when I put on a few gigs and see how they actually operate.”

Asked about Mr Merrifield’s concerns, Mr Howell insisted Mareel had “fully supported” the jazz summer school which had operated this year. He said charges had not been pushed up exorbitantly.

Mr Howell said: “There has been a lot of confusion… around Mareel, and all we have done is publish a new set of hire charges.

“We’re pretty much joining in the risk when anyone wants to do anything at Mareel. The hire charge is essentially built up of a percentage of box office, so if the show doesn’t do very well, we don’t do very well, if the show does okay, we do okay.

“That makes it a lot easier for people to take the risks they want to take in terms of putting up artists, as opposed to committing to charges that would price them out of the market. It’s a much fairer deal and it’s a much cleaner deal, so everyone knows what they are paying.”

He said Mr Merrifield had failed to supply anything to substantiate his claims over the Eddi Reader seats.

“We’ve asked Jeff to provide any evidence to back up what he’s saying there, and he can’t.

“The very idea that 100 Eddi Reader fans snuck into a gig for free, or that Eddi Reader fans are that criminally-minded, I find interesting.

“I think Mareel does an incredible amount for community groups. Handing over the venue for a whole week to Jaws at a heavily reduced rate, so they can run the jazz summer school… What more are people looking for?”

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