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Councillors set to approve Sella Ness tug purchase

Multratug 30 arriving in Shetland back in March. Photo: SIC

COUNCILLORS will be asked next week to formally approve spending £7.8 million on a new tug for Sella Ness.

The Multratug 30 has been in use at the port since March on a lease.

The tug and its sister vessel Multratug 29 – which was also bought by the council last year – were recently renamed Shalder and Tirrick.

Councillors will be asked to formally approve the purchase of the Multratug 30 at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday.

The purchase has already been backed by Shetland Islands Council’s harbour board and policy and resources committee.

It will be funded by external borrowing, with borrowing costs expected to see annual repayments of approximately £650,000 over a 20-year period. The purchase, with a capital cost of around £7.8 million, would be cheaper in the long-term than continuing to lease it.

The borrowing costs would be “funded through the fees and charging structure within the harbour account calculated to ensure no impact on the council’s financial position”.

A report on the purchase of the Dutch vessel said there have been “no operational issues highlighted or suggestions that the vessel has not met our performance specification, rather that the vessel has in most cases exceeded both the specifications and expectations of sea staff”.

The two Multratugs have replaced the old Shalder and Tirrick Sella Ness tugs, which were sold to Greek buyers.

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