Extra freight vessel following pressure from seafood sector
An extra freight vessel is to run between Lerwick and Aberdeen following calls from the seafood industry to boost capacity on the route.
As of Monday the Arrow, a sister to ship to the Helliar and Hildasay will provide an additional service.
Seafood Shetland said the service will run until early October, by which time the shipment of livestock from Orkney is expected to have reduced.
The move comes after produce worth over £2 million was left on the quayside in Lerwick in the last week.
Representatives from the seafood sector have pushed for a daily freight service between Lerwick and Aberdeen.
Chief executive of Seafood Shetland, Ruth Henderson, said fresh salmon worth half a million pounds were left on the quayside on 28th August.
Seafood Shetland said the third vessel would only partially address the problem as the Helliar is operating on one engine and is taking 22 hours to complete its journey.
It added as a result, seafood is to be diverted to Friday’s southbound passenger ship. A replacement part for the Helliar is expected by the middle of next week.
Ms Henderson, said: “This is exactly what we need – although we would reiterate that this issue should have been addressed ahead of a crisis which Transport Scotland knew was looming.
“The Shetland seafood sector has paid a high cost in recent weeks with several millions pounds worth of fish left on the quayside, as the freight service was stretched to accommodate Orkney’s livestock shipments.”
• More in next week’s Shetland Times