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Caithness News Bulletins April 2003

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Northlink Ferries


The £28m NorthLink vessel, MV Hamnavoe, made her first commercial sailing on the Pentland Firth route  on Monday, April 21 after engaging in a busy weekend of public events in Stromness and Scrabster.  Two trailers, 52 cars and 250 passengers were welcomed aboard the maiden voyage. 

On Friday (April 18) 250 school children boarded Hamnavoe in Stromness.  Pupils of Pennyland Primary School, Thurso and Stromness Primary School were given guided tours of the vessel before presenting school work to the ship’s master, Captain Kevin Manson.

Saturday (April 19) saw Hamnavoe in Stromness for a public open morning, during which hundreds of local people went aboard for tours of the ship.  Later that day, Hamnavoe left Stromness and sailed down Scapa Flow with more than 400 passengers on-board the Stromness Ladies Lifeboat Guild buffet cruise. 

Yesterday (Sunday, April 20) Hamnavoe again welcomed more than 400 passengers for the Scrabster RNLI buffet cruise, sailing from Scrabster out to the Old Man of Hoy and back again in fine weather.  The two cruise events have raised more than £8,000 for the RNLI. 

NorthLink chief executive Bill Davidson said: “The weekend’s charity events were hugely successful and it was a pleasure to be on-board and hear the positive views of travellers who finally have the state-of-the-art vessel they deserve operating the Pentland Firth route. 

“We have always stressed that the quality of our ships would speak for itself and this has been borne out over the last few days with Hamnavoe attracting admiring comments from those who sailed on the weekend’s cruises.  Now the crew on Hamnavoe can busy themselves with the task they’ve been looking forward to most of all – the daily routine of crossings between Scrabster and Stromness that Hamnavoe was built to provide.”