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Replacement freight vessels may provide 200-passenger capacity

The Helliar in Stromness last year (Orkney Photographic)

Could replacement freight ships allow for up to 200 passengers?

This is the very question still in the air after Transport Scotland announced replacement vessels for the isles.

On Thursday, March 18, Transport Scotland held initial discussions on the long-term freight vessel replacement strategy for the Northern Isles, and the new “purpose-built” vessels.

The proposed 140-metre replacements for mv Hildasay and mv Helliar can accommodate an extra row of trucks on both decks, with capacity for 86 instead of 68 trailer units, which Neil Leslie — commercial director of Shetland-based hauler Northwards — said is “very welcome news.”

However, press in Shetland reported that alternate designs are also being considered. Instead of a standard replacement vessel, the new freight vessels could carry up to 200 passengers, as opposed to the current 12-person limit of the mv Helliar.

These reports also said that the news “freight ‘plus’ vessels” would have around 60 cabins, pods and reclining seats, as well as a bar and restaurant. It would also offer extra capacity for when passenger vessels are in dry dock.

Full story in this week’s The Orcadian

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