Page last updated at 10:35 GMT, Wednesday, 20 May 2009 11:35 UK

Rosyth ship completes maiden trip


The ferry service links Rosyth to Zeebrugge

The maiden voyage of the new ferry service linking Scotland with mainland Europe has been completed.

First Minister Alex Salmond welcomed passengers off the Scottish Viking after it sailed into Rosyth from Zeebrugge at 1415 BST.

Norfolkline took on the Rosyth to Zeebrugge service after the route was dropped by Superfast last September.

The ferry's sailing was delayed by several hours on Monday after the captain suffered a heart attack.

Antonio Arbilli had surgery is understood to be in a stable condition.

As Scottish Viking was built in an Italian shipyard and registered in Italy, flag state regulations state that the captain must be an Italian national.

Maintaining connections with major European markets is vital for Scotland at a time of global economic challenges
First Minister Alex Salmond

A replacement captain, Dominico Commisso, was flown by private jet to Belgium to bring the ship over to Rosyth.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: "I'm delighted to welcome the Scottish Viking and its first homecoming passengers to Scotland. Securing the continuation of this service is a real success story and hugely important to Scotland's economy.

"Maintaining connections with major European markets is vital for Scotland at a time of global economic challenges."

He was joined by representatives of Norfolkline and Forth Ports.

Thomas Woldbye, CEO and group managing director of Norfolkline, said: "This is an exciting day for Norfolkline and we are proud to be launching this new venture.

"Our thanks go to the Scottish Government and the many other Scottish organisations and companies who have given us overwhelming support to get this new route off to a good start."

Charles Hammond, chief executive of Forth Ports, said: "Today we are not just witnessing the arrival of the Scottish Viking but a new chapter in Scotland's relationship with the continent and all the economic rewards that will be possible from this."

Scottish Viking
The Scottish Viking will sail to Zeebrugge three times a week

Crawford Gillies, chairman of Scottish Enterprise, said: "Scotland's links with mainland Europe are critical if we are to remain globally competitive.

"This route provides Scottish businesses with quick, reliable access to markets offering new growth possibilities.

"I am delighted to welcome Norfolkline to Scotland and to the Rosyth-Zeebrugge route, and wish them every success with their operations."

Philip Riddle, VisitScotland chief executive said: "Direct access to a destination is a key consideration when visitors plan their holiday and we are certain the new route from Zeebrugge to Rosyth will provide an excellent means of access for those taking touring holidays and provide Scotland with an invaluable link for European visitors."

The vessel is expected to leave Rosyth close to its scheduled departure time of 1700 BST on Tuesday for its return journey to Zeebrugge.

The ferry is due to sail three times a week each way.

Print Sponsor

Heart attack delays ferry sailing
19 May 09 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Zeebrugge ferry to restart in May
18 Dec 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Dutch ferry operator for Rosyth
18 Sep 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Optimism over Rosyth ferry talks
12 Sep 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
'Interest' in axed ferry service
29 May 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Ferry firm to axe Rosyth service
28 May 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Ferry service needs more freight
16 May 03 |  Scotland
New ferry link makes waves
17 May 02 |  Scotland
Smuggling concern over ferry route
16 May 02 |  Scotland
Euro ferry docks on the Forth
11 May 01 |  Scotland

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific