NorthLink Ferries has secured a replacement for the freight vessel Clare. And following the company tradition, islanders are being invited to name the new arrival.
The vessel is a sister ship to NorthLink’s most recent acquisition, the freight vessel Hildasay. Like Hildasay, the new freight boat is being time-chartered with crew from her owners Seatruck Ferries of Heysham.
The 122-metre ro-ro vessel, which is expected to take over from Clare in early January next year, is currently named Clipper Racer.
In keeping with a practice that began when the three new passenger vessels were unveiled after NorthLink was awarded the Northern Isles contract nearly nine years ago, islanders are being invited to submit a name in keeping with the rich maritime environment of Orkney and Shetland and Northern Isles geography.
Hildasay, which had previously been named Shield, was given her new name at a formal ceremony in Lerwick earlier this year and taking centre stage for the occasion was 12-year-old Shetland schoolgirl, Sophie Wishart.
The Sandwick Junior High School pupil had submitted the name Hildasay because it continued the sequence of NorthLink boats whose names begin with “H” and because it was also the name of a small island near her home.
Sophie won four return trips on the NorthLink vessel of her choice and also went home with a silver memento of her day in the limelight.
Now, the same prize is on offer for the islander submitting the winning entry to re-name Clipper Racer. NorthLink would like to maintain the “H” boats tradition and the winning submission should also reflect the maritime environment in which the new freight vessel will operate.
NorthLink chief executive Bill Davidson said: “Clare and her crew have given us great service. We will miss her as, I’m sure, will many of our regular freight customers. However, we are replacing a 37-year-old vessel with one which built in 1997.
“The more up-to-date vessel will bring with her greater capability, more working space and superior accommodation.
NorthLink commercial director Cynthia Spencer said: “Our vessel naming competitions have proved to be extremely popular with islanders. They have served to underline the fact that we are part of the Orkney and Shetland communities which we serve.”
Log on to www.northlinkferries.co.uk/shipname for full details on the competition and for submitting entries. Closing date for entries is 5pm on Friday 5th November 2010.