Fair Isle ferry replacement re-tendered ‘amid rising costs’

The SIC has agreed to continue a tendering exercise for a replacement Fair Isle ferry following a behind closed doors meeting.

Councillors also decided to pursue a further tendering exercise for works to the Grutness and Fair Isle harbours.

Shetland Islands Council said they expected contracts to be awarded “early next year”, with work hoped to begin in spring 2025.

A private SIC meeting made the decisions yesterday (Tuesday), amid “rising costs and challenging timescales” for the project.

The SIC said previously the project costs had risen from an estimated £29.7m in November 2022, to around £40-45m.

With £26.8m committed by the UK government from its Levelling Up fund, the remainder of the money would have to be provided by the SIC.

A replacement for the aging Fair Isle ferry Good Shepherd IV is at the centre of the work – along with harbour improvements at Grutness and in Fair Isle.

The SIC said it would engage with potential contractors in the coming weeks.


Add Your Comment
  • Ali Inkster

    • May 22nd, 2024 13:43

    Should the owners of the island who after all dictate who gets to live there not be making a large contribution to the cost of servicing their island?

    • Steven Jarmson

      • May 25th, 2024 1:36

      The owners should surely pay the full bill.
      Why don’t SIC demand full ownership of OUR island.

    • Bob Marsh

      • May 27th, 2024 0:58

      Sympathy for the islanders with their present mode of transport the GS IV., her current age etc. But yes that’s one thought that springs to mind. At the moment it’s basically the British taxpayer and SIC, now increasing apparently with the ballooning project cost estimates, footing the bill. With the election also now set, what effect will any possible new party have on release of future levelling up funds one wonders. Perhaps SIC should await that event before enquiring about delays to funds release, or even that the fund remains in place.

      Costs can only come down with substantial project simplification. With more delay the reverse is happening. An option would be to modify the 25metre boat. Make SWATH cargo configuration, in modern materials, aluminium or preferably carbon, more stable, 2x plus the speed. Keep displacement, and draft, down to no more than GS IV, not 2x, enable use of existing slip. Just modify the noust. Depending on specified simple port and cargo works, the project cost could be in £10-12 million range. The proposed new slip is Malakoff comparable for one boat use. Alternatively, run a larger, fast cat out of Lerwick. Basically islanders/visitors want a ferry/cargo service.



    • May 25th, 2024 2:37

    Procrastination is the thief of budgets.

    • Bob Marsh

      • June 4th, 2024 0:39

      You are right, further delay in implementing whatever plan finally decided on means yet more has to be spent on the GS IV to retain her in class, afloat and still in stalwart service pending arrival of any new build ferry.


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