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Freight ship to be back on Pentland Firth route

The Helliar in Stromness on a previous drydock period.
(Picture: Cecil Garson)

NorthLink Ferries has confirmed that the freight ship Helliar is to operate on the Pentland Firth route while the Hamnavoe is away in drydock from next week.

The Hamnavoe is due to be in drydock from this coming Monday, January 13, until Sunday January 26.

The company says that there will be additional north and southbound calls into Kirkwall by the Hrossey and Hjaltland during this time.

A NorthLink spokesperson added: “The Hamnavoe, which operates between Scrabster and Stromness will have “Changing Places” installed during the upcoming dry dock period. These fully accessible facilities have an adult-sized, height adjustable changing bench, a hoist and a centrally placed toilet. NorthLink have worked closely with the Scottish charity PAMIS to ensure these are to specification and are delighted to be the first ferry operator to have these toilets on all passenger vessels.”

Giving further details of the work due to be undertaken, they added: “The availability of an external power supply, a shore supply, will be utilised to complete the final vessel commissioning of the onboard modifications to the vessel’s electrical switchboard to accept shore power.

“Various mechanical works will be undertaken, including major services on the port main engine, starboard main engine and the port gearbox. All works are planned maintenance tasks complying with the manufacturer’s recommended service schedules and overseen by the manufacturer’s approved service engineers.

“Drydock maintenance will also be completed on propellers, shaft lines and stabilisers along with statutory out of water surveys and inspections by the Classification Society and Flag Administration.”

The company, who have in the past been criticised for putting the freight ship on the route, further stated that the scheduled drydock period has been designed to minimise disruption to customers, and takes place during the quietest time of year for both passenger and freight shipments.

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