NorthLink has altered the refit schedule for its fleet, meaning disruptions to the service operated by Hrossey and Hjaltland will come two weeks later than originally planned. The delay is so that new parts can be made and fitted to the vessels’ stabilisers.
Instead of 30th January to 19th March, the essential work on the vessels will be carried out between 14th February and 24th April – the longer time-spell is to ensure a full service operates during the school holidays which are from 29th March to 9th April.
With Hjaltland due to cover for the Orkney ferry Hamnavoe while she undergoes a two-week refit, before Hrossey comes out of the water, followed by Hjaltland herself, it means there will be just one boat operating between 14th and 28th of February, 7th March and 22nd March and 11th April and 24th April. The work will be carried out at the Cammell Laird yard in Birkenhead.
NorthLink has put in place a modified Aberdeen route schedule which preserves the popular, weekend break southbound on Friday and northbound on Sunday sailings. Ferries will sail south on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and north on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
The 39 passengers who were affected by the date changes have been contacted and alternative sailing arrangements agreed. A NorthLink spokesman said the company had apologised to all passengers who have been affected.
NorthLink has experienced some stabiliser issues with the units fitted to Hamnavoe, Hrossey and Hjaltland. Mitsubishi, the stabiliser manufacturer, has produced a redesigned fin stock. As a precautionary measure the new design of fin stock will be fitted to all three ships while they are in dry dock.
During the maintenance period the two NorthLink freight vessels will operate to a modified timetable ensuring not only regular freight shipments to and from the Northern Isles but easing passenger inconvenience with accommodation for up to 12 passengers per trip on each vessel.
It is anticipated that the freight and livestock vessel Shield, the recently announced replacement for Hascosay, will enter operations to replace Hascosay before the dry dock period commences.
The revised dry-dock schedule is as follows: Hamnavoe: 14th to 28th February; Hrossey: 7th to 22nd March; Hjaltland: 11th to 24th April.