Date lodged: 30 November 2017
To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-12548 by Humza Yousaf on 15 November 2017, what steps it is taking to ensure that appropriate cover is provided on the Stromness-Scrabster ferry route when the MV Hamnavoe is in dry dock; what its response is to concerns that a freight vessel might be used as a replacement during this period; what its position is on the appropriateness of using such a craft and, in light of this, whether it will confirm if it would permit the use of a freighter.
Answered by: Humza Yousaf 13 December 2017
Serco NorthLink Ferries continue to use best endeavours to search the open market for appropriate replacement tonnage for the MV Hamnavoe whilst she undergoes her scheduled period of dry dock at the start of 2018. At present, no final decision has been taken by the operator. Use of a freighter is permitted under the terms of the Public Service Contract, and freight vessels have previously been utilised on the Pentland Firth crossing.
Pentland Ferries also provide connections to Orkney from the mainland and there is a reciprocal arrangement that exists to ensure services are adequately maintained during periods of essential dry docking.