Winter lecture series - Three kirks and a cathedral - 26 September 2019
Ocean KineticsOcean KineticsOcean KineticsOcean KineticsOcean Kinetics

Lerwick to host cruise ship emergency planning exercise

The cruise ship Rotterdam in Lerwick Harbour on Tuesday afternoon - one of an expected 76 vessels this summer. Photo: Shetland News/Neil Riddell.Photo: Neil Riddell/Shetland News

A MULTI-agency emergency planning exercise is set to take place in Lerwick next year to explore the consequences of a major terrorist incident on a cruise ship.

Shetland Emergency Planning Forum chairwoman Ingrid Gall told last week’s community safety and resilience board meeting that other Scottish island local authorities – as well as the Highland Council – would also be involved through video conferencing.

The exercise, due to be held in March at the Town Hall, would be “table-top” exercise involving presentations and discussions.

An update report presented to members of the community safety and resilience board highlighted that there remains a “lack of clarity” in the Highlands and Islands on how agencies would ensure a large influx of people are cared for if they were evacuated from a cruise ship in an emergency.

Previous emergency planning exercises have considered incidents like a fire or explosion on board a cruise ship, but the Highlands and Islands Local Resilience Partnership has yet to carry out anything relating to managing a terrorist incident.

A total of 91 cruise ships visited Shetland this year, bringing 90,336 passengers to the isles – an increase of 78 per cent on 2017.

The largest ship to visit Lerwick this summer was the MSC Meraviglia, which housed over 5,000 passengers.

The record breaking season, however, will be surpassed yet again in 2019, with 115 ships in the schedule so far.