Statement From Northlink Ferries
24th March 2020
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 have followed relevant guidelines and advice from the Government and health officials and continue to do so. It is for this reason that restrictions have been implemented to allow only necessary travel between the Scottish mainland and Northern Isles and a reduced on board offering. Whilst we do continue to provide a lifeline service we would like to remind all passengers to adhere to Government guidelines when travelling with us for the safety of themselves, their families and our staff."
In line with Government, Transport Scotland, Health Protection Scotland and Maritime and Coastguard Agency advice, NorthLink Ferries continues to operate sailings between the Scottish mainland and the Northern Isles but with a significant number of changes made to the on board offering. This includes:
Suspension of cinema
Suspension of car valet
Closure of on board shops
Closure of on board bar area
Suspension of MV Hamnavoe bed and breakfast
Due to the duration of crossings between Aberdeen, Kirkwall and Lerwick, food and drink will continue to be available on board but with an amended menu. Stricter enforcing of social distance requirements are also in place.
Serco NorthLink Ferries continues to request that travellers stay at home and help to save lives as the company was forced to refuse travel to 23 passengers since 22 March. As part of the national effort to deal with the current public health crisis, NorthLink Ferries has been monitoring passengers' reasons for travelling, which are captured during the booking process, and denying travel to or from the Northern Isles to those who disclose non-essential reasons.
A new temporary timetable has been introduced by Serco NorthLink Ferries, designed to continue to provide a lifeline service between mainland Scotland and the Northern Isles whilst reflecting travel demand during the COVID-19 outbreak. In line with advice from the Scottish Government and health officials, restrictions have been implemented in recent weeks to allow only necessary travel, resulting in a significant reduction in passenger numbers.
The MV Hamnavoe is due to be in dry dock from 13th to 26th January 2020 (inclusive), and there will be additional north and southbound calls into Kirkwall by the MV Hrossey and MV Hjaltland. During this time the MV Helliar will provide a replacement service on the Pentland Firth route.
Serco, the international service company, has been selected as preferred bidder to continue managing and operating the lifeline Northern Isles Ferry Services for passengers and freight between the Scottish mainland and the Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands, providing essential access and supplies for the islanders. The outcome of the tender was announced by the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands to The Scottish Parliament this morning.
Company is first Scottish transport operator to introduce pioneering support service. Serco NorthLink Ferries has partnered with one of Scotland's digital start-ups to improve journeys for customers who require additional support.
Visitors to some of Scotland's main agricultural shows this summer could win free travel to the Northern Isles on board Serco NorthLink Ferries. Anyone stopping by the company's stand at the Royal Highland Show, Caithness Show, Turriff Show or Isles Shows will be able to enter a prize draw for a trip on board its vessels.
Northern Isles ferry operator Serco NorthLink Ferries is predicting its busiest ever holiday season. The company has just completed training for its 31 seasonal Passenger Service Assistants who have joined the team ahead of the summer surge.
Whether it's a day of pampering and relaxation or one of adventure and activities, Mother's Day is always the perfect opportunity to remind mums how special they are. As sons and daughters travel this weekend to see their mums, NorthLink Ferries is helping those still searching for that perfect gift by offering the chance to win a beautiful handmade pendant from Shetland Jewellery.
Serco NorthLink Ferries has been commended by the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, for developing young people from Shetland and Orkney and becoming the first and only ferry operator in Scotland to receive the highest Investors in People accreditation. As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2019, 11 apprentices with NorthLink Ferries met the Minister at NorthLink's Stromness office where they discussed the benefits of modern apprenticeships and the opportunities being presented to them by Serco, the operator of the lifeline ferry service.
NorthLink Ferries is set to star in a new STV documentary on Friday (08 March 2019), providing viewers across the country with a unique insight into life on board the company's passenger services. Titled All Aboard and broadcast at 8pm, the 30 minute programme follows MV Hrossey as she travels between Aberdeen and Lerwick, offering a behind the scenes chance to see the many roles of crewmembers as well as a glimpse into island life and the stories of those making their way to and from the mainland.