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Islanders invited to name the ship

FERRY operators NorthLink have invited islanders to name the new freight vessel they have just secured to replace the Clare.

The company is chartering the 122 metre ro-ro vessel Clipper Racer from its owners Seatruck Ferries, of Heysham, which is the sister ship of its other new freighter Hildasay.

NorthLink has a tradition of inviting local communities in Orkney and Shetland to name their vessels, last put into practice when Cunningsburgh schoolgirl Sophie Wishart named the Hildasay in January, which was previously called Shield.

The 12 year old had wanted to continue the other tradition of naming NorthLink vessels with a name beginning with the letter ‘H’ that reflected island history and geography, and won four return trips on the ferry of her choice.

Now the same prize is on offer for the islander submitting the winning entry to re-name Clipper Racer.

NorthLink said they would like to maintain the ‘H’ boats tradition and the winning submission should also reflect the maritime environment in which the new freight vessel will operate.

Commercial director Cynthia Spencer added: “Our vessel naming competitions have proved to be extremely popular with islanders. They have served to underline the fact that we are part of the Orkney and Shetland communities which we serve.

“Literally hundreds of islanders have submitted entries in the past and we are hoping that the same kind of enthusiasm will be shown this time around.

“We’re looking for a name which will fit in with the names of the existing fleet – Hildasay, Hjaltland, Hrossey and Hamnavoe. We’ll then choose the most appropriate and the winning entry will secure for its author the prize of four return trips with cabin for two and car on one of our passenger ships.

“And if the winner wants to travel on his or her ‘own’ freight boat then I’m sure that can be arranged too,” she said.

Full details about the competition and how to submit an entry can be found at www.northlinkferries.co.uk/shipname. Closing date for entries is 5pm on Friday 5 November 2010.

Entries can also be posted to: NorthLink Ferries (Marketing Dept), Ferry Terminal, Ferry Road, Stromness, Orkney KW16 3BH.

Participants should remember to enclose their name, address and a contact phone number.

Chief executive Bill Davidson said: “Clare and her crew have given us great service. We will miss her as, I’m sure, will many of our regular freight customers. However we are replacing a 37 year old vessel with one which was built in 1997.

“The more up-to-date vessel will bring with her greater capability, more working space and superior accommodation. I’m sure that while we will all be sad to see Clare and her crew go, our new acquisition will be welcomed by our many freight and livestock customers.

“Alongside Hildasay, our new boat will ensure that we have the necessary space to meet the increasing freight and livestock business which we are now handling.”

Prior to entering service with NorthLink the new vessel will have her stern ramp modified so it will fit the linkspan in Lerwick.  Arrangements are also being made for the fitting of the water distribution system which connects to the new livestock containers.

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