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Transport / SIC to re-tender new Fair Isle ferry work

The Good Shepherd. Photo: SIC

ELECTED members agreed on the next steps to progress the Fair Isle ferry replacement project in a private meeting of the full council on Tuesday.

Councillors have agreed to pursue a further competitive tendering exercise for the infrastructure works at Grutness and Fair Isle harbours.

They also agreed to re-tender the build contract for a replacement vessel.

It comes after it emerged in January that the proposed new ferry would no longer be fully ‘ro-ro’ as costs increased.

A spokesperson for Shetland Islands Council (SIC) said by re-tendering the infrastructure works and vessel build contract it is hoped to achieve better value than indicated in current estimates, to allow completion of the full business case to progress the project.

The re-tendering process is expected to extend contract award until early next year, for work to get underway in the spring of 2025.

Project costs have risen from an estimated £29.7 million in November 2022, to an estimate of between £40 million to £45 million in January 2024.

With a fixed level of provisional funding of £26.8 million on offer from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund, the balance of project funds would be required from Shetland Islands Council.

The project will see a new passenger vessel with freight capacity to replace the current Fair Isle ferry, MV Good Shepherd IV.

Associated harbour infrastructure will include dredging at both harbours, a pier extension and rock armour at Grutness and a new slipway, boat noust and cradle at North Haven in Fair Isle.

Shetland Islands Council said it will engage with potential contractors in the coming weeks to share outline plans for the project ahead of the formal re-tendering process.

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