Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Letters / Questions overlooked by SIC officials?

The time is long overdue for the Shetland Islands Council officials to stop spinning the line that tunnels are unaffordable and tell us what alternative ferry service do they propose for us that is affordable?

A Whalsay tunnel was priced at £26.9 to £32.5 million in 2004, the tunnel running costs were estimated at less than half a million pounds per annum at that time, which would add up to a total running cost of less than £9 million since 2004; while running the Whalsay ferry service will have cost well over £50 million during the same period of time.

You could increase the tunnel running costs sixfold and the tunnel would still have cost less to run, than the ferry service during the past 18 years.

All of Shetland’s ferries are long overdue for replacement except the two in Yell Sound due in 12 years, and the Whalsay ferry Linga due in 10 years as well as the Skerries ferry Filla due in 2033.

How long will the ferries with passenger saloons below the main deck, be allowed to run on dispensations; before the authorities decide that the SIC have had enough time to sort things out?

How long will it take to replace all the SIC ferries without disabled access to their toilets and passenger saloons?

Now what environmentally friendly propulsion concept will be used in their new ferries as a replacement, will they be battery powered; with charging points onboard to allow electric cars an emergency top up on the journey?

This raises another question; how long will the ferries need to be at their berths between journeys, to top up their own batteries?

This will of course require substantial and costly developments at each ferry terminal, to enable them to charge quickly; to allow them to provide the frequent and regular service required.

Perhaps gas driven ferries will be preferred, requiring the major infrastructure of refuelling stations to be built and serviced, well separated from public areas to minimise the risk of explosions while refuelling.

Would this gas be refined in Shetland or shipped in from elsewhere?

Now what would the environmental cost for the construction of all of this be, plus the financial cost to the public purse

These are just a few questions that seem to be overlooked by the SIC officials, as they appear to continue to promote the obviously ridiculous statement from the SIITS report [Shetland Inter Islands Transport Study] that over a 60-year period, it is cheaper to run ferry services than to run tunnels.

Whoever is responsible for that obviously flawed statement and its continued promotion, should be held accountable for their continuous and persistent deceit. William Polson

William Polson