Study Recommends Bigger Ferries for Northern Isles

Friday, January 27, 2006
The ferries which operate the lifeline route to the Northern Isles were branded as two of the most inefficient vessels built in recent years in a new academic study, the Scotsman reported. The Napier University's Maritime Research Group report claimed that the two NorthLink ferries, which currently sail the route between Aberdeen and Orkney and Shetland, the Hjaltland and the Hrossey, should be replaced by larger and more cost-effective boats. And the research group also suggested that the move to larger vessels would require the ferries to dock at Peterhead instead of Aberdeen when they reach the mainland because the Granite City's harbor would be too small to accommodate them. The report, Future Options for Northern Isles Ferry Services, was commissioned by the local authority-led Northern Maritime Corridor group to establish whether improvements could be made to the existing service. The Scottish Executive is due to announce the new operator of the heavily subsidised contract for the Northern Isles ferry route later this year. The report stated that the two existing passenger and car vessels only have single freight decks and extremely high fuel consumption costs in relation to the payload, meaning the ferries are up to five times less efficient than longer ships of their class. Two other cargo vessels are also used to ship freight to the islands. (Source: Scotsman)
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