Shetland representatives call for additional Northlink sailing at start of summer break

22 May 2024
Beatrice Wishart and Alistair Carmichael

Shetland representatives Beatrice Wishart MSP and Alistair Carmichael MP have today written to Serco Northlink Ferries, calling on them to allow an additional sailing to increase passenger capacity at the start of the summer break.

The isles representatives are calling on Northlink to allow a single additional sailing from Lerwick to Aberdeen on Friday 28th June, doubling the capacity for passengers travelling from Shetland for the summer holidays. They cited widely-shared images on social media in summer 2022, in which many travellers were seen lying across the floors of the Northlink vessel due to overcrowding in the peak early-summer period.

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart said:

“The Northern Isles ferry route is our lifeline service but has known annual ‘pinch points’ so we should find ways to mitigate them.

“We are calling for one additional sailing when the schools break up to alleviate travel pressure. 

“What can be forgotten is that the Lerwick to Aberdeen journey is often just the first part of onward travel whether driving further south, or taking the train to get a flight abroad from Glasgow or further afield.

“Extra capacity at this critical time will ensure the best start for the hundreds of people setting off on their annual break.”

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael said:

“Advocating for a single additional sailing to Aberdeen at the absolute peak of need is hardly extravagant. If Serco Northlink are seeking to improve their reputation in the isles then this seems like a no-brainer all round.

“The pictures we saw two years ago, of people crammed on the floors of the vessel due to overcrowding at the summer peak period, were far from what you would expect of a modern transport service. The issue is entirely predictable and can be avoided.

“This is a lifeline service which receives large amounts of public money. It should absolutely be in Northlink’s interest to make a small concession and give a boost to the service for the start of the summer.”

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