Shared cabins may never return to NorthLink Ferries

Shared cabins are unlikely to be available on NorthLink crossings “any time soon” – and may never return.

Transport Scotland’s Alan McCabe said there was “no likelihood” of the shared facilities returning while Covid was still a “major factor”.

Speaking at the Shetland external transport forum today (Wednesday) Mr McCabe also said the gender identity debate was causing fresh complications.

He highlighted reports there were now more than 100 officially recognised genders.

“It’s not just as simple as males or females sharing a berth,” he said.

Mr McCabe said some groups were not prepared to share cabins with people who now identified as a different gender to their sex at birth.

“It’s getting to be a bit of a minefield,” he added.

“We are already taking legal advice on this and we will be looking at it in further detail.”

The discussion arose after Shetland Central member Moraig Lyall highlighted concerns about the ongoing inability to book shared cabins.

Mrs Lyall said people were instead sleeping in pods, which she felt posed greater Covid risks as more people were confined close together.

“By taking a cabin, albeit a shared cabin, you are reducing your interactions to a maximum of three other people and also reducing costs,” she said.

Mr McCabe said NorthLink had carried out risk assessments, which were supported by Transport Scotland.

He said shared cabins meant strangers were sharing door handles, remote controls, light switches and more, all of which posed a risk of transmission.


Add Your Comment
  • Gafyn Reynolds

    • December 8th, 2021 20:34


  • Eddie Bundy

    • December 9th, 2021 8:57

    Have male, female, and gender neutral shared cabins then. Passengers go to a shared cabin that matches their gender, and if we’re not fussed about who we share a cabin with we have that option too. Personally, I don’t use a shared cabin to think about the genitals of the others in the cabin, so it shouldn’t matter if someone in the shared cabin “now identifie[s] as a different gender to their sex at birth.”

  • Brian Harris

    • December 9th, 2021 17:39

    Out of curiosity, by whom are more than 100 genders “now officially recognised”?

  • Heather Butler

    • December 9th, 2021 20:36

    So Mr Mcabe think that it is just fine to charge Islanders for 3 other berths for the next 2,3 4 5 …. years?????????
    I think Transport Scotland best think again. No one in their tight minds would think this is the right thing to to. Can he afford to pay treble for each voyage. For…….ever,,? I think not.
    Scottish Transport need go provide a Subsidy now. As for sex. In a pod you will be sitting next to whichever sex
    male, female in-between or whatever has been allocated a seat next and I mean very near you. Closer than a berth.
    All pod passengers have to touch the same door handle, toilet handles etc. Not a good enough excuse. Time for Transport Scotland to show intelligence and provide a Subsidy now. I mean now. This is an unacceptable situation. Transport Scotland have no interest in going money to an essential service.

  • Kerrie Meyer

    • December 10th, 2021 21:11

    McCabe is an ignorant uninformed idiot who obviously knows nothing about gender identity. To dispense of shared cabins on the premise that a passenger of an ‘unidentified gender’ or a person ‘not born in their original birth sex’ would be in issue if they shared a cabin illustrates his ignorance. With 1% of the population who could be deemed as ‘gender undefined or of a ‘different gender’ that when they were born, McCabe is trying to create a problem that in all probability wouldn’t occur. As a post-op trans person myself with a gender recognition certificate and a new birth certificate that states born female (and even if I was pre-op) I would never consider sharing a cabin anyway. Based on his nonsense notion he is trying to create division and is promoting a dangerous president by stoking up homophobia and transphobia. As for stating there are over 100 identifiable genders, that statement is totally ridiculous and is without foundation. Based in his cockeyed views is he also suggesting transgender passengers be banned from using the toilet of their chosen gender too? The guy needs a reality check. Ms. Kerrie Meyer (she/her) Founder of Shetland Pride, Shetland LGBTQ and


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