Cruise Arrivals


OIC’s oldest vessel set for retirement

The oldest vessel in the Orkney Ferries fleet, MV Golden Mariana, is to be retired at the end of this month.

Orkney Ferries’ oldest vessel – MV Golden Mariana – is to be officially retired from its service on the Westray to Papay route.

The decision follows a review of the vessel by Orkney Islands Council’s (OIC) marine engineers who have estimated that the costs to keep her in service — particularly repairs to steel work on her fore deck —  will be around £250,000.

The approximately 50-year-old vessel will be retired at the end of September.

MV Northerly Explorer will be taking up the service on Monday, October 2 with support from the current Golden Mariana crew.

While MV Nordic Sea was initially purchased to replace the ageing vessel, OIC says crewing challenges and issues with the Papay pier have kept her off the route.

Investigations are now underway into the availability of a more permanent arrangement.

OIC says the Nordic Sea will continue to fill a vital role in the Orkney Ferries fleet, stepping in to provide relief passenger-only capacity across a number of routes in the islands as the company continues to deal with the challenges of its ageing fleet.

Mellissa Thomson is chairwoman of Orkney Ferries.  She said: “The Golden Mariana has provided a much-loved service to the people of Papay over many years. While we will miss her, her well-deserved retirement is now long overdue.

“In terms of age our other vessels are not far behind — and I’d again reiterate to the Scottish and UK Governments that we must work together to find a solution to ferry replacement in Orkney.”