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New temporary timetable for NorthLink ferry services

By Alan Hendry

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Services between Scrabster and Stromness on the Hamnavoe will remain on a timetable of two trips a day. Picture: NorthLink Ferries
Services between Scrabster and Stromness on the Hamnavoe will remain on a timetable of two trips a day. Picture: NorthLink Ferries

A NEW temporary timetable has been introduced by Serco NorthLink Ferries.

The company says the move is designed to continue to provide a lifeline service between the mainland and the Northern Isles while reflecting much lower travel demand during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Aberdeen/Kirkwall/Lerwick service is moving to a revised schedule of one journey each day, but the Scrabster/Stromness will continue to operate with two daily trips.

The company says that, in line with advice from the Scottish Government and health officials, restrictions have been put in place in recent weeks to allow only necessary travel – resulting in a significant reduction in passenger numbers.

From Sunday (April 5), the Aberdeen/Kirkwall/Lerwick passenger service moves to a revised schedule seeing one passenger ship operating on the following off-peak timetable:

  • Aberdeen to Lerwick on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday
  • Lerwick to Aberdeen on Monday, Wednesday and Friday
  • Aberdeen to Kirkwall on Thursday and Sunday
  • Kirkwall to Aberdeen on Wednesday and Friday

MV Hamnavoe, the passenger vessel that sails between Scrabster and Stromness, will remain on a timetable of two trips a day.

NorthLink Ferries’ freight service plays a vital part in the Orkney and Shetland supply chain and will continue to provide daily connections to and from the Northern Isles in tandem with the passenger vessel schedule.

The timetable is currently projected to run until Sunday, May 3, but will be extended further as required in line with any advice regarding restrictions on movement.

Passengers should be aware that further changes may be introduced at short notice, and when travelling they must follow strict social distancing requirements at all times.

Stuart Garrett, Serco’s managing director of NorthLink Ferries, said: “The wellbeing of our passengers and staff is always our top priority and since the outset of Covid-19 we have taken all the necessary precautions to ensure their health and safety.

"We will continually review the changing situation and shape our response in line with the most recent guidance from government and health officials. It’s for this reason that we are now introducing a temporary revised timetable to support essential lifeline services while responding to the reduction in passenger footfall.”

NorthLink has implemented restrictions to allow only necessary travel for island residents, key workers and those travelling to provide medical support to family members. A reduced on-board offering and terminal usage has also been put in place, including:

  • Suspension of cinema
  • Suspension of car valet parking
  • Closure of on board shops
  • Closure of on-board bar area
  • Amended menu available on crossings between Aberdeen, Kirkwall and Lerwick
  • Suspension of MV Hamnavoe bed and breakfast

For more information about NorthLink Ferries and to view the revised timetable, visit www.northlinkferries.co.uk or call 0845 6000 449.

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