Barge alcohol licence approved amid concerns about over-provision

Workers staying on board the Kalmar accommodation barge will be able to enjoy a drink without having to venture round the pubs, despite concerns the move “verges on over-provision”.

Shetland Islands Council’s area licensing board today agreed to grant the Kalmar an on-sales licence from 5pm to midnight, seven days a week.

Councillor Alastair Cooper was worried about a high concentration of drinking venues in the town centre.

“We have the Queens, Flints, Lounge, Noost, Thule and now yun place. It’s verging on over-provision.”

Mr Cooper stopped short of urging refusal after hearing the barge, and the amounts of alcohol consumed, would be strictly monitored. The licence is only needed for a nine-month period.

But he said he was concerned about the number of bars in the area.

Allison Duncan was worried already stretched police resources might be tested further if additional licences were issued by the board.

Inspector Eddie Graham admitted there would be “some form of knock-on” for the police, as the barge would be on the “patrol plan” of licensed premises requiring visits.

But he said the strict monitoring meant he would raise no objections.

“There shouldn’t be anyone who is not entitled to be on the barge. The barge itself should be solely for the workforce resident on the barge. The times are acceptable and … there is strict policy in relation to the level of consumption.”

Council convener Malcolm Bell said he took Mr Cooper’s concerns seriously.

But he said granting the licence would help meet the demand, and moved the recommendation.

“The likelihood is there will be a temporary over-provision, but at the same time there is a degree of over-provision of customers. In some ways this will help manage that situation,” he said.

Cecil Smith said a licence had already been granted to the Bibby Stockholm at the Morrison Dock. He said the board could take the operators to task if any problems occurred.

“We’ve already issued a licence to the Bibby Stockholm. We have responsibility and, if anything does go wrong, we can take their licence away from them.”

Chairman George Smith said that, while there were a number of licensed premises in the area, there was a “controlled mechanism” applied in the Kalmar’s case.

Members also allowed a variation of the hours on the Bibby Stockholm.

They had already granted hours from 6.30pm to 11pm. However the variation allows the licence to run from 5pm to midnight instead.

Mr Cooper said 5pm seemed an early time as workers would be just coming off site at that time.

But he moved approval after being reminded of different shift-patterns workers operate under.


Add Your Comment
  • Stewart Mac

    • July 1st, 2013 16:02

    Strange to see the Licensing Board (not) supporting local business by allowing the accomodation barges to have their own liquor licences. Strange really, I recall a licence being refused some years ago as the proposed venue was allegedly too near the sea and deemed a danger to the public had they been exiting whilst under the influence of intoxicating liquors. Now we have the Mareel and accomodation barges all on the water and all with alcohol licences so presumably its all safe now. Or is it perhaps simply that one was steamrollered through and the others, well no one wants to upset the oil industry now do they? Bite the hand that feeds and all that.

    As for overprovision, they have now made a rod for their own back once the accomodation barges depart. .

  • Colin Pearson

    • July 2nd, 2013 0:54


  • David Spence

    • July 2nd, 2013 1:28

    Regrettably, Shetland and Alcohol, when it comes to so-called entertainment or making money, go hand in hand regardless to any consequences alcohol has on the community, individuals or the family…… long as the irresponsible suppliers and distributors of alcohol make their money and profit……….and please don’t blab on about ‘ you can take the horse to water but you cannot force it to drink it ‘ rubbish.

    Any place that provides alcohol either in a pub, hotel, shop etc are just as irresponsible as the idiots who behave badly as a result of drinking too much……but greed and profit must come before any accountability.

  • Raymond Smith

    • July 2nd, 2013 3:58

    I take it the barges will have their own security on them to sort out any trouble if anything did kick off. It does appear a bit strange that licences have been granted. Maybe they will be bringing in their own entertainment – dancing girls etc to keep everybody on them.

    Raymond Smith

  • Ashley Leaper

    • July 2nd, 2013 10:03

    People complain when they’re out drinking in the pubs and now they’re complaining about them drinking in their own accommodation..
    It’s ridiculous.

  • David Spence

    • July 2nd, 2013 10:11

    Somehow Raymond, I don’t think giving ‘ the barges having a drinks license ‘ will stop the people living on the barges from venturing further afield to the local pubs and other ‘ alcoholic watering holes ‘ regardless to any associated trouble or crime which may be caused as a result………….not that I am saying alcohol and crime are related……god forbid if such a connection is made lol

  • Stewart Mac

    • July 2nd, 2013 12:09

    Very Good David, liked the way you swung that round to be all about the demon drink and the dangers of excess – after all no one in Shetland, or Scotland for that matter can be trusted to drink responsibly – I’ll look forward to seeing you head up the push for prohibition in the near future – after all it worked so well in the USA didnt it?

  • David Spence

    • July 2nd, 2013 12:34

    Stewart, it would be interesting to find out the cost to the Tax Payer alcohol related crime and other negatives impacts it has on society in proportion to the money the industry itself makes ‘ without it being accountable ‘ as to contributing to this negative impact imposed on society due to a few people wanting to profit from the sale of alcohol.

    Yes, you may say the Taxes made from the sale of drink should be more than enough to pay for ‘ the damage it causes to society ‘ but tell this to the thousands of families who have been affected by alcohol what price they have paid?

    If I were to be selling anything illegal, no doubt the law would be wanting to know the source so that they/it could also be prosecuted and made accountable for contributing to crime and its affect such illegal action has on society.

    However, even although alcohol is legal, the contributors to crime, health, breakdown of families etc etc are not made accountable for their contribution to the crime itself, even although they are partly responsible.

    Yes, prohibition in America did not work, and, it is said, ironically, brought in the Mafia into the States to illegally sell alcohol as well as drugs and other illicit activities. Prohibition would never work in any society as the cost of policing and monitoring would be too much. In saying this though, I am not so sure how successful Saudi Arabia is in clamping down on alcohol consumption since it is illegal in that country…….or so I am led to believe?

  • Sam A Squatch

    • July 2nd, 2013 12:49

    Our relationship with ‘da booze’ is flawed. We don’t seem to be able to enjoy ourselves without getting ‘filled-full’. Almost ever event has ‘drink’ central to the occasion and having a few just doesn’t happen.

  • David Spence

    • July 3rd, 2013 8:23

    That is very much the case Sam, in many events where alcohol is sold or given exceptionally cheap (buy 1 get 1 free, cheap hour etc etc) where profit and greed of money is the priority of the establishment and is not, as they see it, responsible or accountable for any trouble, crime caused as a result of ‘ them selling alcohol to the punters. As said ‘ You can take the horse to water but you cannot force it to drink it ‘ even although you are, in affect, forcing people to drink due to selling campaigns as mentioned above.

    As mentioned, hypothetically, if I supplied a gun which was used in a crime, I could be charged with aiding and abetting or contributing to a crime even although I was not responsible for doing the crime itself. This should apply to places that sell alcohol if a crime is committed due the persons actions as a result of alcohol or a establishment selling alcohol. I know some of you will say ‘ How can you prove the establishment was partly responsible for a crime a person commits due to the alcohol they have sold to that prerson? ‘.

    I am sure there was a street in Brighton which was nothing but pubs and nightclubs and the Council, quite rightly, were wanting to bill the establishments for costs incurred by the police, ambulance or any other services as a result of rowdy behaviour or a crime committed by drunken louts.

  • David B Spence

    • July 3rd, 2013 9:45

    What a load of hellery!

    Is is tescos fault if someone allergic to nuts buys them and has an adverse reaction?

    Is it Hays fault if someone buys a hammer and smashes someones skull in?

    Of course not, and likewise if someone cannot behave responsibly when/after drinking alcohol it is absolutely nobodys fault but their own.

    This licence is just the same as the ones granted to all the other accomodation in use just now, and as the workers are monitored (to the extent many don’t drink at the on-site bars, I know this first-hand) it should mean plenty will patronise the local establishments and contribute to the economy. A quick trip to Brae of an evening will soon verify that.

    Of course there will be a bit more bother, but that is nothing to do with the workers or the alcohol, but simple mathematics, no matter how sensible 99% of people are, there are always the 1% without a clue who of course are most noticable.

    I think the comments pages on this site are all the proof needed of that 😉

  • Stewart Mac

    • July 3rd, 2013 11:13

    David (Spence- not David B Spence),

    I had a full and complete response prepared but in the end deleted it as it was bigger than the article itself. Suffice to say in my view your logic is fundamentally flawed on various levels. The figures you consider “interesting” are all out there from official sources (ScotGov, NHS, Europe etc.) perhaps you should take a look as they make “interesting” reading, particularly when compared with other matters.

    I would echo the sentiments of David B Spence above, however from the figures i have been privvy to it should be 97% and 3% respectively.

  • David Spence

    • July 3rd, 2013 12:08

    I know, in most cases, it is a minority of people who may be violent, commit a crime or just be a general nuisance as a result of drink, but to completely exempt from any accountability alcohol as a contributing factor is not, as the present situation is, addressing the issue of alcohol, people or establishments selling alcohol or those places, to a degree, being made accountable by allowing profit and greed to take precedence rather than being responsible.

    This problem has been highlighted several times where, in Britain (doesn’t surprise than the highest crime rate in Europe associated with alcohol is the UK) binge drinking is the cultural way where ‘ let me have a good time, its my right, regardless ‘ is the mentality being pervaded nowadays. Profit, greed and have no accountability is the drink (alcoholic) industries attitude these days, where, as mentioned, their own interests come first before responsibility.

    I take your point David, in the Supermarkets also playing their part by selling cheap booze and, again, not being made accountable (as per usual in the UK, profit ahead of anything else). I know the idea of a minimum price per unit of alcohol has been discussed, but I am not so sure as to its, if any, implementation either today or in the future. This legislation, I believe (although some people will interpret this as the Government wanting to make more money via Taxes) is to address the ridiculously low prices in which alcohol is sold, and that the industry itself is putting profit ahead of responsibility……….again, nobody questions this as long as ‘ they benefit ‘ from it.

    I do not think it is stupid to discuss the issue alcohol has on society and its affects on families, individuals and communities………lets not put the freedom of profit driven principles ahead of social responsibilities and properly address this issue sensibly instead, as always, putting the profit, greedy needs of the few ahead of the majority.

  • george williamson

    • July 3rd, 2013 13:13

    on licences if run properly will always be better simply because you can walk out of any shop not just tesco with enough alcohol to kill yourself and get as drunk as you want with it but try to get that drunk in a properly run bar and you will be shown the door. Also if you drink in a bar somebody sober will always be available to help if you need medical assistance.

  • Johan Adamson

    • July 3rd, 2013 15:58

    Im more worried about the debauchery on the barge. Maybe we need to get Honey to come back on line

  • Sheila Tulloch

    • July 3rd, 2013 16:48

    Good grief! ‘profit & greed’? Get a grip. There would be no incentive whatsoever, for your average Barperson or Shop Assistant to sell more drink. They will be paid the same whether they serve 5 or 25 customers per hour! And you are tarring all premises with the same brush.

  • John Tulloch

    • July 3rd, 2013 18:47


    It’s ok you don’t HAVE to go on board.

    As Woodie Guthrie might have put it:

    “You won’t have a name when you build the big gas train,
    All they will call you will be “Debauchee.”

  • David Spence

    • July 4th, 2013 1:27

    Sheila, sorry to say this, but when it comes to business and making money, the more negative aspects of human nature come out where profit, greed, selfishness as well as a few other descriptions are the key traits. ‘ Look after Number 1 at the cost of everybody else ‘ is the main theme behind any business regardless. Minimize your costs, maximize your profits by whatever means possible….even if it brings out the worst in human nature as Big Corporate Companies demonstrate only too well.

    There is a saying which rings only too true ‘ You’ll never meet a honest business person ‘…….especially when money, greed and profit are their main objectives. Call it, regrettably, the nature of the beast…….and yes, this would apply to most businesses regardless of size.

    When you have a Government from 1979 onwards (New Labour were an insult to the ordinary working person and Tories in disguise) who put Business, Greed, Profit, Selfishness and Exploitation of the people as their agenda, it is not surprising many, many people have very little respect for many, many businesses.

  • Stewart Mac

    • July 4th, 2013 9:30


    Having read your semi-detailed (yet flawed) response and indeed your response to Shiela i am now convinced when it comes to the sale and supply of alcohol in Shetland (and Scotland) you are most definately not in possession of the facts.

    But hey that never stopped someone spouting off the rhetoric that suits their cause now did it? It seems that you have “an issue” for want of a better expression, with all business and for that matter fundamental ecomonics.

    As long as you are happy that you are right thats fine, I wont be rising to your bait. after all, there are still people out there that will vehemently argue the world is flat and wont listen to reason.

  • Ali Inkster

    • July 4th, 2013 10:13

    David I guess with all your heart felt beliefs you will be boycotting all shops and other businesses after all you wouldn’t want to be contributing to the vast wealth of us greedy capitalists. You are growing your own food and using a barter system well done you. Or are you just a sad, lonely, jealous little man that likes to slander folk who have achieved something for themselves.

  • David Spence

    • July 4th, 2013 11:58

    To Sheila, Stewart and Ali, it is not a case, as such, that I despise capitalism compared to socialism, as most societies and cultures incorporate both to a degree, but there is a big difference between the ordinary shop on the street to this of the big corporate companies and banks who, very much, put profit ahead of anything else and at any cost, including human life.

    I would also like to apologize to anybody I may have offended as a result of my rather abrupt comments on…….well, you know.

    It is also questioning the principles and morals of our society in the west where they put monetary and material wealth ahead of anything else as the main basis and foundation of what makes our society and where this is very much causing massive division and social inequality within our society, as the behavior of the most representation of our ‘ money based driven society ‘ the banks have proven time and time again and how it is they who very much represent what, I would say, most people despise…… the saying is ‘ If the banks want to make money, they start a war ‘……and this has been very much the case in the 19th century where, due to technology as well, more people have been killed in the last 100 years than in the past 2,000 years due to, in many cases, the banks wanting to make money by lending the fighting factions the loans to buy weapons and the arms industry very much also in the pockets of the banks making their profit.

    I know you may say this is utter rubbish and I am talking conspiracy etc etc but in many cases, if you delve into the facts and history of certain companies and banks, it very much sheds light on what I am saying…….although nobody will, lets say, challenge the system.

    Once again, I apologize to anybody I have offended due to my past comments on western economics etc etc.


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