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News / Swift ferry repairs ensured disruption was minimised

The 13-year-old Filla ferry.

SPECIALIST and emergency works costing £125,000 had to be carried out when SIC inter-island ferries Filla and Linga encountered technical issues last year, councillors heard on Tuesday.

Members of the environment and transport committee heard that the 13-year-old Filla, which operates on a route serving Skerries from Vidlin, Lerwick and Whalsay, was taken out of service for a few days in June 2016.

A new controller board was fitted by engineers from Rolls Royce over a five-day period, at a cost of £23,894, before the vessel was returned to service.

Meanwhile the Whalsay ferry Linga suffered an oil pump failure on a diesel generator on 28 July last year.

It meant replacing the engine, which was supplied and fitted by L&M Engineering at a cost of £100,534. The council has made an insurance claim and hopes to recoup that money.

Infrastructure director Maggie Sandison said the need to get both ferries back in service as soon as possible meant the work “couldn’t be competitively tendered”, so she took swift action and applied an exception to the SIC’s standing orders.

Committee vice chairman Steven Coutts said he was happy with the report, and that while it was “unfortunate when these unforeseen events occur”, he wanted to “pay credit to the quick action”.

“These are lifeline services and we can’t afford to wait,” he added.

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