Five-hour delay for ferry leaving Aberdeen tonight

Tonight’s sailing of the NorthLink ferry Hjaltland from Aberdeen to Lerwick will not depart until midnight.

The company said forecasted bad weather was responsible for the five-hour delay, with the ship having been due to leave at 7pm.

The Hjaltland is expected to arrive at Lerwick at around noon tomorrow.

The delay was announced shortly after NHS Shetland made the decision that in future most patients travelling to hospital appointments would have to do so by ferry.

Both cargo ships, the Helliar and Hildasay, would also see their services disrupted over the next 24 hours, NorthLink added.


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  • Vic Thomas

    • March 15th, 2017 8:24

    Am I incorrect in believing that year on year Serco Northlink have become ever more unwilling to sail in windy weather?

    • Charlie Gallagher

      • March 15th, 2017 18:50

      Vic, I think that you might be correct but I think that there are too many people boarding the ferry and expect it to be a nice wee trip across a mill pond. They need to get real, they are on the sea and it does get WINDY and ROUGH, also I believe too many people are just waiting for a chance to sue. They would never have lasted on the ‘Earl’, LOL.

      • John Tulloch

        • March 16th, 2017 10:41


        WIth all due respect, it’s a ferry service, not a Japanese game show. Not everybody needing to travel by NorthLink is a fisherman or an ‘ancient mariner’.

        It’s not so long since we were reading of people being injured, even, by falling out of their bunks, not to mention, of the wheelhouse windows of the much bigger St Clair being stoved in and seawater coursing through the corridors.

        The worst I have personally endured (the only times I have ever been sick) was sailing from Oban to South Uist when, as a young, fit man, I had to wedge myself in the toilet cubicle, unable to leave between bouts of vomiting for over two hours, while great piles of cutlery and crockery crashed scarily around the restaurant kitchen. Thankfully, short-lived, that was madness.

        As a regular user of the service, IMO, Serco are acting responsibly by quite sensibly avoiding sailing in the worst weather and I have no desire to revert to any “we sail in ony wadder” machismo from the ships’ masters.

  • David Spence

    • March 15th, 2017 11:31

    I do not think it is so much the weather Vic, but 3 things do come to mind.

    1. Serco have already been paid by the Scottish Office, so doing the minimum amount of sailing increases their profits or
    2. Serco do not sail incase they get sued by a passenger for slipping on the deck or within the ship itself in slightly rough sea’s/weather or
    3. passengers claiming against Serco for being sea-sick/ruining their clothing.

    It is just a guess, but I am pretty sure one these would probably fit the bill? lol


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