The company from which NorthLink charters the freight ship Helliar is to provide a replacement vessel while repairs are carried out in dry-dock in Sweden.
Helliar will leave Lerwick tomorrow morning for the 40-hour journey to Gothenburg where work will be done on the propeller stern tube which was damaged at the weekend when rope became snagged in her propeller while she was en route from Aberdeen.
NorthLink charters Helliar from Seatruck Ferries and it has been agreed that while she is off station she will be replaced by one of her sister ships from the Seatruck fleet – the Arrow.
Arrow is presently operating a scheduled service in the Irish Sea and is expected to be released tomorrow evening to arrive in Lerwick on Friday when she will immediately enter service with NorthLink.
NorthLink managing director Bill Davidson said: “We had been keeping our fingers crossed that the follow-up inspection by divers would have shown that the damage caused by the rope could have been fixed in Lerwick but that’s proved not to be the case. She has to go to dry-dock so that the stern tube can be properly repaired.
“We’re conscious that, during our scheduled statutory dry-dock period with Hjaltland away for her dry-dock survey, that this could not have happened at a worse time.
“We’ve been working with customers to ensure that priority cargoes on Hrossey and Hildasay have been taking precedence over non-essential items and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their understanding.
“We’re aware of just how important the freight services are to everyone on the islands but in particular to these businesses which rely on us to get their produce to markets on the mainland.”