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Marine / Cruise ship visits Scalloway – with the SIC keen to see more in the future

The Le Boreal in Scalloway on Wednesday 22 May. Photo: Mark Cunliffe

AS a cruise ship visited Scalloway today (Wednesday) the council’s harbourmaster says attracting more calls there is an area of business the local authority is targeting.

The Le Boreal docked at Scalloway Harbour this morning but it is much smaller than some other cruise ships which have visited Shetland recently, with around capacity for around 265 passengers.

While some small cruise ships have visited Scalloway – a council run port – in the past, it is a relatively rare occurrence compared to the more frequent calls at Lerwick.

The visit was brought up at a meeting of Shetland Islands Council’s (SIC) harbour board on Wednesday, with Robbie McGregor asking if efforts can be made to attract further cruise business.

It comes as the SIC is set to lose more than £400,000 a year in harbour income from Scalloway after salmon company Scottish Sea Farms consolidated its processing facilities in Lerwick.

Harbourmaster Greg Maitland said it more cruise activity in Scalloway is an area of business the council is looking at, but he stressed there is a “juggle” between the size of the ships and the services they need.

But he told councillors the SIC is looking to get guidelines published for size of vessels so the local authority can “go to market” to encourage these smaller “adventure” size cruises to come in.

Board chairman Robert Thomson asked about other areas in Shetland for potential cruise visits, highlighting there have already been ones at Baltasound in Unst this season as well as a push for ships to visit Collafirth in Northmavine.

Hopes that smaller cruise ships could visit Northmavine

Maitland said there has not been any interest as yet from cruise operators around additional ports that have not already been used before.

He said there would need to be a security plan in place before any other area receives a cruise ship, but this would not be too much hassle.

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“We just need the interest,” Maitland said. “It’s something that we want to do, is promoting this across the islands.”

He added that the impact on community is something to be considered when thinking about other areas receiving cruise calls.

Scalloway and Baltasound are the only two council-run ports which cruise ships can dock at piers, with others needing passengers to be transported ashore.

As well as the smaller ship in Scalloway there are three other cruises in Lerwick today.

This includes the 315m Celebrity Silhouette, while there are also two 132m ships in the town too.

It comes after the largest ever cruise ship to call at Lerwick visited Shetland on Monday.

Lerwick harbour is operated by Lerwick Port Authority.

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