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Letters / Why not Dundee?

The lack of both passenger and freight capacity to and from Shetland is a matter of continuous concern, which could be addressed by larger vessels suitably equipped for both needs and fit for purpose.

The size/length/beam/draft of such vessels would of course bring its own problems – restrictions on space to turn around in Aberdeen Harbour, whilst coping with greater areas exposed to the wind whilst doing so.

Deeper draft would more likely increase the risk of being ‘neaped’ during spring tides, with a disruption to passenger timetables.

The navigational approaches to both the old and new Aberdeen harbours are open to gales and exposure from both the west and east (in addition to the tidal streams across the entrances) with the added risk of the ports being closed on occasion.

One possible solution to consider would be to change the destination/terminal to Dundee where the approaches are more open and less restrictive (more sea room etc) and could accommodate bigger ships.

The distance is only 40 miles longer (three hours) which could be easily accommodated during the overnight passage.

By using larger capacity (passenger& freight) vessels the present number of freight only vessels required might be reduced with much savings to the public purse.

Dundee of course has similar marine infrastructure available, plus excellent hospital, road, rail, airport and onward connections.

Has the SIC, their officials and or Transport Scotland considered the above, and if not why not?

There are numerous very large ship management companies operating (worldwide) from Glasgow who could draw on decades of years of international experience to advise on the above, and provide expertise perhaps not readily available in the Edinburgh shore based and oriented government departments.

Has anyone in Transport Scotland had personal experience of seagoing operations?

Whilst it is some time now since I was in charge of a vessel or latterly in ship management, the seamanship concerns which I have mentioned above have not changed these past decades nor are they likely to do so in the future.

A rethink regarding the vessels required and location of the terminals needed to service Shetland’s needs now and into the future is surely well overdue.

Cecil Robertson


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