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Tuesday, 1 October, 2002, 08:54 GMT 09:54 UK
New ferry sails for the Northern Isles
Aberdeen Harbour
The service links Aberdeen to the Northern Isles
A new ferry service between Aberdeen, Orkney and Shetland has started operations.

NorthLink Ferries has taken over the routes from P&O Scottish Ferries.

The company plans to provide three new vessels worth a total of 100m.

The move ends the involvement of P&O which linked the Northern Isles to the mainland for more than 30 years.

NorthLink logo
The company has 1.5m in advance bookings
NorthLink chief executive Bill Davidson said: "The three ferries called Hjalpaland, The Hrossay and The Hamnavoe will provide passengers with cruise ferry standards on the route."

Mr Davidson said passenger expectations had risen over the last 30 years.

"The new vessels are bigger and faster and will offer improved facilities such as an a la carte dining room and an all-night bar."

NorthLink say the vessels are specially designed to be used on the route which can often be stormy.

The overnight services between Aberdeen and Shetland will be increased from six to seven nights a week.

The new service does face teething trouble.

Orcadians will have to travel across the Pentland Firth in a second-hand vessel until a new pier at Scrabster is ready.

NorthLink also faces stiff competition from two rival freight operators.

However, the new operator says it has already received advance bookings worth more than 1.5m.

See also:

30 Sep 02 | Scotland
11 Jul 02 | Scotland
22 Dec 00 | Scotland
05 Oct 00 | Scotland
01 Sep 00 | Scotland
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