Cruise Arrivals


£350k earmarked for new Orkney Ferries passenger boat

A new passenger vessel is being sought by Orkney Islands Council, with the primary role expected to be on the Westray-to-Papa Westray route. The local authority says the Nordic Sea, which was originally bought for the job, could be used in the summer to serve the South Isles. (Orkney Photographic)

The hunt is now on for a new passenger vessel to join the Orkney Ferries fleet, with its primary role expected to be on the Westray-to-Papa Westray route.

Orkney Islands Council (OIC) has published a tender worth £350,000 for a second hand boat, with a capacity for 12 passengers, plus cargo.

It was in September last year that OIC announced that the oldest vessel in its fleet, mv Golden Mariana, would be retiring from its long years of service in the North Isles.

But, instead of mv Nordic Sea taking on the role that it was purchased for, the local authority said it would be hiring the mv Northerly Explorer until a “more permanent arrangement” could be found.

At that stage, the council said it would be looking for a new vessel to cover the Westray-to-Papa Westray route, but the new tender is for a boat that, OIC says, could also be used across the county, as required.

A spokeswoman for the local authority said: “The tender is for a vessel to join the Orkney Ferries fleet and it could be used across a number of routes.

“The vessel classification type that is covered by the tender is a small vessel so restricted to 12 passengers only, plus cargo.

“The Nordic Sea has played an important role this year in providing additional passenger capacity across the North Isles routes during the refit period

“She is currently covering the refit period of mv Graemsay and we are also looking at a proposed additional passenger route for the South Isles over the summer to meet increased demand.”