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New tugs steam into Stromness

The two new tugs arriving in Stromness. (Orkney Photographic)

Orkney’s two new tugs have arrived in Stromness after a long sea journey from Turkey.

The vessels set off 17 days ago from the shipyard where they were built and today completed a non-stop voyage of 3,500 nautical miles.

This has taken the tugs through the Mediterranean, past Gibraltar, along the coast of Portugal, across the Bay of Biscay, through the English Channel and up the east coast of Britain, before crossing the Pentland Firth and heading into Scapa Flow.

During their passage through the Flow, they were flanked for a time by the three older tugs that have operated from Scapa for more than 30 years. The new tugs will replace two of the current fleet.

“All involved are delighted to see the tugs arrive in local waters,” said Graham Sinclair, chair of Orkney Islands Council’s development and infrastructure committee.

“Scapa Flow is internationally recognised as a pre-eminent location for a broad portfolio of maritime activity.

“The tugs will play a vital role at the heart of our harbour operations, helping us make the most of current and future marine business opportunities and maintain the service we’ve provided for the Flotta Terminal over many decades.”

The design and build contract for the 32-metre tugs was secured by Sanmar Shipyards of Turkey after a competitive tendering exercise. Sanmar operate a specialist tug building facility.

The tugs were named Odin of Scapa and Thor of Scapa after a public poll and will each cost £6.1million.

They will be handed over to Orkney Islands Council after sea trials have taken place and, until then, will carry their temporary Turkish names, Kocacay and KocacayII.

A naming ceremony will take place at a later date.

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