Staff shortages hit ferry service

A reduced ferry service is operating on the Yell Sound route as a vessel has been pulled due to crew shortages.

Shetland Islands Council has also said today’s Skerries service has also been cancelled as a result of crew shortages.


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  • Ali Inkster

    • December 10th, 2014 14:41

    How many qualified seamen were sitting in council offices or at home on days off getting paid today?

    • Karl Ward

      • December 11th, 2014 9:08

      Hardly a fair comment. If there are qualified seamen sitting in offices, presumably they are getting paid to do another job. Anyway, rounding up all the qualified seamen and bunging them on a ferry, which they may not have any operational experience of is no answer at all.
      As for the second part of the comment, if someone is on their day off, they are, a-entitled to it and b-probably not getting paid for it.
      I agree that this is a serious problem which must be addressed, but to blame the worker isn’t either helpful or nice.

  • Ali Inkster

    • December 11th, 2014 13:54

    Any private company would get the managers out the office and on the deck when short handed, as for men on days off they are on time off similar to the oil industry or merchant marine yet are home every night this can hardly be justified especially not in these financial circumstances. Nobody was or is blaming the worker but management policies seriously need looking at

    • Brian Smith

      • December 11th, 2014 17:59

      Ali, du should nip up and take charge.

  • Gus Fraser

    • December 11th, 2014 18:14

    I ask the S.I.C. about part time work on the ferries now that I am retired but they never got back to me about work .

  • Kevin T Robertson

    • December 11th, 2014 19:21

    Ali You sound like a very bitter guy.

    You must remember the Ferrymen work a time for time system which entitles them to their time off and they cannot be forced to return. Also because of the hours they work the accumulate holiday hours which they must get taken within the calender year. All is very clear in the MLC 2006 (maritime labor convention) this sets the standards which must be followed.

    None of the ferries have suitable accommodation for the men to stay on board other than the 2 large yell boats. And due to trying to save money this was stopped. So again you seem BITTER rather than practical. But if you would rather they all got booked into shore accommodation all paid for by the council instead of driving a few minutes home at their own expense i guess you better make for the council chambers and forward your silly idea.

    I guess you are someone who works 9-5 every week and on your weekends off you work helping out when they are short of public toilet cleaners or street cleaners? If not im sure they would be happy for your help. Or your someone who has been sitting at home for years doing very little public service except complain about working people.

    As far for your comment (Any private company would get the managers out the office and on the deck when short handed) this is ridiculous to say the least. If you have not taken time to look the ferries is NOT a private company it is a local authority.

    All in all the Ferrymen do the isles a great service day in day out. If you live on an island im sure you will agree with me on such because without them the isles would be empty and no one wants to see that hopefully.

  • Sandy McDonald

    • December 11th, 2014 20:48

    Many moons ago the company I worked for at the time had an incident in Antwerp when a twit of an ITF inspector wrongly told the Filipino ratings that they should go on an instant strike, all the ratings instantly decamped to the seamans mission and refused to come back to the vessel until they had been promised a pay rise. The captain went to the mission and pleaded with them to come back as he didn’t hold out much hope for their future employment if they carried on. The company office was in Hamburg, they pulled all the spare superintendents and nautical supervisors that still had valid tickets from the office and put them on the ship within 6 hours, as the ship then fulfilled the safe manning document it was entitled to sail – which it did. The poor ratings were sent home at their own expense, as for the ITF inspector I never did hear what happened to him but I hope he was proud of himself.

    Not quite the same scenario as above, that was a fire fight. The issue is that the covering personal would have to be properly familiarised with each vessel they had to cover, this process could take some time as it would have to be done within existing regulation. It’s not permitted to simply plop a person on a ship and tell them to get on with it, especially if it’s going to become standard practice.

  • Joseph kay

    • December 15th, 2014 13:43

    Keep the suggestions coming, someone may have the answer/solution: hopefully.


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