SHETLAND Islands Council has agreed to transfer its share of the former Bressay ferry – also used as a launch boat by the Germans during the First World War – to the island’s history group, which hopes to store, conserve and put the vessel on public view.
MV Brenda was donated jointly to the council and Shetland Amenity Trust (SAT) by Malakoff & Moore in May 1999.
She has been stored outside in the yard of an amenity trust store at Staney Hill and her condition has “incrementally deteriorated”, and neither organisation feels it has the resources available to store or maintain the vessel.
Earlier this year the Bressay History Group approached SAT requesting ownership be transferred to them to arrange a building suitable to store, preserve and display the vessel to the public.
SAT trustees agreed in principle to that request in June and on Monday the council’s development committee followed suit.
SIC leader Cecil Smith said: “I’m not aware of much value in rotten wood so I’m prepared to move this.”
A report from economic development project manager Jon Dunn said the vehicle had a “particularly colourful and resonant history having, prior to her long public and private sector service in Shetland, originally operated as a motor launch from the First World War German battlecruiser SMS Hindenberg”.
Dunn’s report said that, given the “current financial strictures” faced by both the SIC and SAT, the vessel would continue to degrade if nothing is done.
The report added the vessel was “in a very dilapidated state and is of no value as a sea-going boat”, and passing on ownership would remove the liability from the council.
Development director Neil Grant said his understanding was that the history group would require external funding to go ahead with its plans.