NorthLink Ferries to Orkney and Shetland

Scrabster to Stromness Service Update

Update at 1856, 30 April 2013

Following yesterday’s announcement that the Hamnavoe has suffered major engine damage, NorthLink Ferries has been working with passengers and other operators to arrange alternative options for travel.

It is likely that the earliest the Hamnavoe will return to operation will be 24th May.  As a result of that and until an alternative vessel is found bookings will not be taken for travel before that date on the Hamnavoe route between Stromness and Scrabster.

We are working with the Scrabster Harbour Trust to make amendments to the Queen Elizabeth Berth that will allow our freight vessels to dock there.  Once the timing of these works is confirmed we will be able to confirm a timetable for this additional freight capacity.

Stuart Garrett, managing director at Serco NorthLink Ferries, said: “We are making every effort to put in place alternative arrangements as a result of this unforeseen and unpreventable event.  We are continuing to look for an alternative vessel to operate the Pentland Firth service, however with no suitable vessels currently available we will not be taking bookings for travel in advance of 24th May for the Pentland Firth route.

“We appreciate the inconvenience this causes passengers and we advise passengers with bookings to call us as soon as possible so that we can help with arrangements.  We are working with other operators to arrange alternative options for travel, this includes courtesy travel to and from Pentland Ferries.   Pentland Ferries have also put on additional sailings that have the capacity to cope with the expected number of passengers.

“Freight will also continue to be transported on the Kirkwall to Aberdeen route.”

Travel advice to passengers is as follows:

  • Passengers who have not yet been contacted with bookings between now and 24th May should call NorthLink Ferries on 0845 6000449
  • Pentland Ferries will put on additional sailings and will sail four times per day in each direction between the mainland (Gills Bay) and Orkney (St Margaret’s Hope) on Friday and Saturday, with three sailings a day Sunday – Thursday.  Tickets and timetables can be booked here:
  • NorthLink Ferries will provide courtesy travel for passengers between Stromness and Pentland Ferries at St Margaret’s Hope and from Gills Bay to Scrabster with a drop-off in Thurso.
  • John O Groats Ferries also provide a crossing to the mainland for foot passengers between Burwick and John O’Groats. More information can be found at
  • Alternative transport to the mainland is also possible via NorthLink’s timetabled service between Kirkwall and Aberdeen.
  • NorthLink Ferries will help passengers to book alternative options and welcome them to their offices in Scrabster, Stromness, and at Kiln Corner in Kirkwall where staff can assist with bookings.
  • Further information on sailings will be announced as it comes available
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