Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has today (Thursday) again urged Ministers to agree funding for replacement vessels on Orkney’s internal ferry routes.
During General Questions, Mr McArthur welcomed the recent agreement between Orkney Islands Council and the Scottish Government to replace the Golden Mariana and asked if this will now pave the way for the replacement of other vessels within the ageing fleet.
In response, the Minister for Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, confirmed that the government is in ongoing discussions with OIC to find a long-term solution.
Following the exchange, Mr McArthur commented:
“The recent announcement of a replacement for the Golden Mariana is encouraging news. It suggests that agreement is possible on how the newer vessels that our internal ferry services so desperately need might be funded.
“Fuel and maintenance costs continue to rise steeply, while the disruption caused by the removal of MV Eynhallow from service illustrates perfectly the urgency of putting in place vessels that are fit for purpose.
“The Transport Minister has acknowledged again that Orkney’s internal ferry services fall well below the minimum standards set out in the government’s own National Ferries Plan. He also insists that discussions with the Council to find a long term solution to the delivery of these lifeline services are ‘ongoing’.
“Meantime, however, the communities in Orkney most directly affected are growing increasingly frustrated at the lack of visible progress. No doubt they will be hoping that the resolution regarding the Golden Mariana’s replacement now paves the way for agreement between the Council and Ministers on a wider programme of vessel replacement”.