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Letters / Stolen summers

Chris Cope’s article Fresh concern over long lines of cruise ship cyclists (Shetland News, 19 April 2024) aroused a great deal of sympathy for Shetland which is now suffering the ‘benefits’ of cruise line business that Orkney has been subjected to for many years, including the undereducated and inconsiderate cruise ship passengers who displace locals from the bus services they rely on, and the undereducated and inconsiderate cruise ship cyclists who wilfully cause obstructions on local roads, thereby endangering motorists and other road users.

Shetland may have some advantage over Orkney in maintaining control over this annual scourge, as, to my knowledge, Lerwick Port Authority is entirely independent of Shetland Islands Council, unlike in Orkney where the council are responsible for the harbour authority and are keen to squeeze as much revenue as possible out of any passing vessel that may decide to use the harbours here in order to defray the growing deficit accumulated by that same harbour authority over many years.

This includes giving significant and substantial subsidies to the cruise operating companies every year in the form of free local transport to their passengers, and facilities that would in any other location be provided on a commercial basis.

Shetlanders are much too astute to be taken in by the facile and unjustifiable argument continually trotted out by Orkney Islands Council that “cruise business adds value to Orkney’s economy” which is evidently untrue to any meaningful extent, unless there are coffee plantations on Copinsay or Cava that I’m unaware of, and the expensive tourist tat on sale in the shops on the street has been wrongly labelled and isn’t actually manufactured in China and Bangladesh and transported to Orkney in ships that are registered in the Marshall Islands or Bermuda, the same countries of registration as many of the cruise ships.

I hope that Shetland does not suffer the same fate as Orkney, and that their summers aren’t stolen from them by the behemoths owned by transnationals and the passengers they contain.

Leslie Sinclair

Fresh concern over long lines of cruise ship cyclists



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