G R Direct - Free Dishwasher OfferG R Direct - Free Dishwasher OfferG R Direct - Free Dishwasher OfferG R Direct - Free Dishwasher OfferG R Direct - Free Dishwasher Offer
Tuesday 23 July 2024
 11.2°C   NW Light Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Transport / Ferry crewing issues explained

FERRY bosses have given more detail about the crewing issues which have affected services in the North Isles over the last week.

The Yell Sound ferry service was single vessel for much of last week due to staff shortages, while crew sickness has reduced the service on Bluemull Sound this week.

Shetland Islands Council’s ferry and airport operations manager Andrew Inkster said the service has been affected recently by losing some agency workers.

Regarding Yell Sound, he said there were two vacant mate posts which were covered by agency workers.

However, “the agency mate got a job nearer his home and did not return,” Inkster said.

“Unfortunately, members of our own crew who would have been able to cover were off sick and no other members of crew were willing to come in on overtime to cover – overtime is not mandatory,” he added.

Whilst the council initially expected this week to be single vessel on Yell Sound, two agency mates stepped in to do two split shifts to keep the service at full strength.

There is also some good news on the recruitment front – a permanent mate started this week, and the council is awaiting confirmation from another candidate if he is accepting the other vacant post.

Andrew Inkster. Photo: Shetland News

“We also have two engineers sick on Yell Sound this week – our own engineers have stepped in to cover those shifts,” Inkster added.

He explained that on Bluemull Sound, which is single vessel for three days this week, there is not enough cover after four people went off sick.

Thrown into the mix as well is a vacant mate post.

Meanwhile in Fetlar an agency worker had been covering a vacant mate post which the council is struggling to fill.

However, the worker got another job on the mainland near his home so did not return for shifts last week.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


This left the council in a position where it was unable to crew the Geira.

“Due to sickness the normal relief cover for this position was not available therefore a marine superintendent had to go to Fetlar and cover this to keep the Geira in service last week,” Inkster said.

He added that there is a “misconception” that the council can just deploy someone from within the ferries workforce to provide cover on a vessel.

“They have to be suitably qualified and hold all the valid certification,” Inkster said.

“They then have to go through a period of familiarisation on that particular vessel to ensure the service we are providing operates safely.”

Meanwhile inter-island ferry services have been heavily affected by the windy weather today.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.