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Also in the news / Response base handover, Covid case numbers, plea for teachers and more…

From left to right: Ken Church (OSRL), Dean Sherwood (Shetland response base supervisor), John Johnson (Shetland base technician), Rob Bly (BP, crisis and continuity manager, North Sea).

GLOBAL company Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL) has taken over the management of a response base in Scalloway.

The facility houses equipment that can be rapidly deployed in the event of an incident, either offshore or nearshore.

Response equipment can be transported to the ports of Scalloway or Lerwick for deployment onto suitable vessels.

The base supports several west of Shetland operators and was established by BP.

OSRL and BP have now completed a thorough handover to ensure continuity of service.

OSRL chief executive Robert Limb said: “While we never want to face a situation requiring deployment, this important service provides an extra layer of protection when responding to incidents. Its favourable location on the west coast of Shetland allows us to act quickly and efficiently.

“The base will be run on a daily basis by our trained contractors on Shetland and managed remotely from the OSRL Aberdeen office. Training courses will also be offered at the base for our contractors and other interested stakeholders on the island.”

SHETLAND’S Covid case rate is continuing to fall slightly, with 51 new positive tests reported.

While the number of cases remain well above the national average, the overall incidence rate now sits at just over 2,000 cases per 100,000 population over a seven day period.

SHETLAND Islands Council is calling for any retired or qualified teachers who are not working at the moment to join their relief bank of teachers to provide temporary cover when needed, such as staff absences or to potentially fill vacant posts for a short time.

All individuals must be registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) and will need to join the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme or have a PVG update, before joining the relief bank.

Executive manager Robin Calder said said: “This would assist us to ensure that we can provide teaching cover when the need arises, such as for staff absences or any time when there are gaps in current teaching provision.”

Anyone interested in discussing this informally can contact Leanne Moss on 01595 744040 or leanne.moss2@shetland.gov.uk . More information is also available here.

SHETLAND MSP Beatrice Wishart has quizzed the Royal Bank of Scotland’s headquarters over the lack of additional resources provided to the Lerwick branch after it was forced to close last week due to a Covid-19 outbreak among staff.

Wishart questioned why staff were not brought north to keep the bank open.

She said: “I wish all those staff members who were affected by Covid a speedy recovery.

“Local staff are not to be blamed for being ill. Bank staff have played an important role throughout the pandemic and continue to do so for the local community.

“Bank bosses should not take staff or customers for granted. Many in the community rely on the local service, especially where poor broadband in the isles is no substitute for customer service.

“If RBS wanted to, they could have flown staff up to ensure customers were served at the end of last week. Instead we are asked not interpret a lack of impetus from RBS HQ and gradually reduced hours in recent years as closure by stealth.”

LERWICK has a new venue available to hire – with the town’s brewery opening up its bar area.

The Lerwick Brewery space, completed with a fully stocked bar, has capacity for up to 60 people

Manager Kathryn Herculson said: “We have wanted to open the brewery as a venue space for a while, but unfortunately weren’t able to due to Covid restrictions.

“We are delighted that more events will be happening this year, and we can offer our bar space for clubs, meetings and party hire.”