Monday night’s sailing from Lerwick of NorthLink ferry Hjaltland has been cancelled because the vessel is still in Aberdeen.
The disruption to the timetable happened because Aberdeen Harbour was closed for more than 12 hours on Sunday night due to rough seas and a heavy swell, which prevented vessels of a certain draught entering or leaving the harbour.
The harbour closed at 7pm and re-opened on Monday morning at 8.30am, when Hjaltland was joined by the Hrossey, which arrived at 9am.
A spokesman for the harbour said: “In the interest of safety, activity at the port was suspended last night due to the weather conditions being experienced. Vessels were unable to enter and depart the harbour, which has resulted in some delays. Normal operations have now resumed.”
The Hrossey is due to depart Aberdeen at 7pm on Monday and should arrive at 7am on Tuesday. However tomorrow night’s sailing of Hjaltland from Aberdeen is under review because of a poor weather forecast.
The closure of Aberdeen Harbour overnight on Sunday night to Monday morning meant inconvenience for passengers and led to services being rescheduled. A spokesman for NorthLink said: “Due to adverse wind and tide conditions, Aberdeen Harbour was closed to all traffic meaning that Hjaltland, with 129 passengers on board, was unable to depart for her northbound trip to Kirkwall and Lerwick.
“The passengers remained on the boat overnight with the possibility that, with changing sea conditions, departure might have been possible but this proved to be not the case. Passengers were disembarked this morning.
“The delays and cancellations were outwith our control. Nevertheless, we would like to take this opportunity to apologise to passengers for the inconvenience experienced.”
Orkney-bound passengers fared a little better in that NorthLink hired a coach, with packed lunches provided, to take passengers to Scrabster to rendezvous with the Hamnavoe, crossing to Orkney via the Pentland Firth service to Stromness.
The tidal conditions at Aberdeen Harbour have affected Monday’s sailing of the freight and livestock vessel Clare from Lerwick to Kirkwall and Aberdeen. The vessel was due to depart from Lerwick at 6pm instead of noon, sailing direct, to arrive in Aberdeen at 8am on Tuesday. She will then depart Aberdeen around 10am, sailing to Kirkwall, to arrive at 6pm. Having shipped a consignment of cattle, she will make a quick turnaround and depart at 11pm to arrive in Aberdeen at 8am on Wednesday.