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Also in the news / UHA viewing figures, special freight sailing, Shell profits, water charges and more…

The galley comes down the TownHall brae during the procession. Photo: Chris Brown

PROMOTE Shetland is still collating viewing figures of its Lerwick Up Helly Aa live streaming but is confident it reached tens of thousands of people.

A spokesperson for the service, whose role it is to promote Shetland as a place to visit and to move to, said it was hard to give exact numbers because the procession and galley burning was broadcast across several platforms and they all have different ways of measuring viewers.

Managing director David Nicol of NB Communication, which runs Promote Shetland, said: “Folk were tuning in from various parts of Shetland, all around the UK, across America and a huge number of people from Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere – all watching, commenting and having a good time.

“It’s been an excellent response overall.”


Freight ship Bore Bay

FREIGHT and haulage company Northwards is offering capacity on a special one-off cargo sailing later this month that offers a link between Continental Europe and Shetland.

Northwards parent company Sea Cargo AS of Norway has chartered the cargo ship Bore Bay to bring equipment for the Viking Energy wind farm to the isles.

The 139-metre vessel will sail from Esbjerg to Rotterdam on 15 February and then onward to Lerwick, arriving here on 18 February.

The vessel will leave for Bergen the following day before continuing to Esbjerg and Rotterdam.

Northwards’ commercial director Neil Leslie said: “Working with our colleagues at Sea Cargo, we are delighted to have secured the Bore Bay to provide this special service.

“This is the perfect opportunity for anyone looking to transport goods between these destinations.”

Anyone interested in using this service should email sales@northwardsltd.co.uk


Tessa Khan. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

SHELL’s “blatant profiteering is making us all poorer” and needs to stop according to Tessa Khan, the executive director of Uplift, a think tank campaigning for the end of fossil fuel exploration.

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On Thursday, the multi-national reported £32.2 billion of profit, one of the largest profits in UK corporate history, and the biggest in Shell’s 115-year history.

Khan, who visited Shetland at the end of January to learn about a community awash with energy while suffering from one of the highest levels of fuel poverty in the country, said the UK Government continues to hand out vast tax breaks to Shell and others.

“This feels like we’re being mugged now,” she said. “These are profits that Shell is taking from us in higher energy and fuel bills, including from the many millions of households living in fuel poverty, pensioners and families with children among them, and from businesses up and down the country that are struggling to survive. It is grossly unfair.

“[Prime minister] Rishi Sunak needs to stand up to firms like Shell and tax this industry properly. That means closing the gaping loophole he introduced in the windfall tax, which will see in total £11 billion in public subsidies going to oil and gas companies.”


CHARGES for unmetered water and wastewater will go up by five per cent as of 1 April.

The increase is well below the annual level of inflation, Scottish Water pointed out in its announcement on Thursday.

The household charges for 2023/24 for a Band D property will be £232.47 for water supply plus £269.82 for wastewater collection.

The utility’s chief executive Douglas Millican said the charges would raise about £1 billion annually and support round-the-clock services.


Space conference programme.

UHI Shetland and SaxaVord Spaceport are hosting a space conference this weekend to give local people an opportunity to learn more about the industry and what it means for the Shetland community.

This community event, which will see talks on a range of space-related topics, will run throughout the day at the Scalloway Campus at Port Arthur.

All talks will be streamed on both UHI Shetland and Saxavord Spaceport’s social medias to allow interaction and to be accessible to as many members of the community as possible.

The talks include a panel with astronauts from America, and a lecture and visit from the executive director of Space Scotland, Dr Hina Khan.

UHI Shetland principal professor Jane Lewis said: “UHI Shetland are delighted to work with Saxavord Spaceport to promote women in STEM in Shetland, and to showcase the opportunities in Shetland for the future of space learning and development.”


TWELVE local charities have shared donations worth more than £11,000 made by Sullom Voe Terminal operator EnQuest and its charitable appeals and community relations committee.

Shetland Care Attendant Scheme, Shetland Rape Crisis, the MS Society, CLAN Cancer Support, Shetland Foodbank, Shetland Stroke Support Group, Motor Neuron, Juvenile Diabetes, Ability Shetland and Parkinson’s Shetland all received a cheque for £1,000 while £600 was given to the Salvation Army and £500 to Dogs Against Drugs.

Two national charities – Horseback UK and Sheffield Children’s Hospital – received donations of £250 each.

The awards were made possible through the efforts of EnQuest and contracting staff at the terminal achieving 30 perfect days without any recordable injuries, high potential incidents, reportable spills to sea, reportable smoky flares or hydrocarbon leaks and 100 per cent availability.

All beneficiaries expressed their gratitude by saying that donations like these are even more welcome in challenging times.


SHETLAND Arts has announced the winners of each theme featured in the FOCUS photography exhibition at Bonhoga.

Sarah Carr was the winner for ‘Home’, Stuart and Kathy Hubbard for ‘Blyde’ and Emma Coote for ‘Climate’.

During December Shetland Arts invited anyone to take six photos in Shetland to tell a story about one of the three themes, with visitors able to vote for their favourites.

The FOCUS exhibition will run until 5 March and it can be visited during Bonhoga opening hours of 10:30am – 4:30pm, Wednesday – Sunday.

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