Getting shipshape for Island Games in Shetland!
Hundreds of participants in the NatWest Island Games XI in Shetland in July will be on the crest of a wave, even before competing – with around half arriving by sea via Lerwick Harbour and the same number being accommodated on ships at the port!
The organisers have chartered two cruise ships, Athena and Van Gogh, as accommodation for around 1,150 participants. The port’s Holmsgarth facility will provide the vessels with the required quay length, water depth and passenger access in close proximity to the town.
In support of the Games, Lerwick Port Authority is providing free pilotage and berthing for the two ships which will be in the harbour from 8 to 16 July.
Allan Wishart, the Port Authority’s Chief Executive, said: “This is a great event for Shetland. We are delighted to be supporting the Games, and for the port to have a key role in the arrangements, both as a gateway and the location accommodating so many of the participants.”
The Games, from 9 to 15 July, have attracted more than 2,000 entrants from 24 islands, competing in 15 different sporting events. Team managers and officials bring the total number of participants to around 2,500. Islands represented range from the Falklands to Greenland, and Rhodes to Bermuda, as well as 10 from Great Britain.
For more than half the visitors, the harbour will be their first port-of-call in Shetland when they arrive from Aberdeen on board NorthLink Ferries’ vessels. The usual daily arrival will be doubled on 8 July, when altered sailings will see two ferries berthing at Holmsgarth, and again on 16 July when there will be two departures.
The Athena and the Van Gogh between them will bring around 90 of the participants.
Smyril Line’s roll-on/roll off vessel, Norrona, which serves North Atlantic routes, will also berth at Holmsgarth on its regular calls three times during the Games.
The port is also expecting around 50 small craft with approximately 200 people on board from the Faroe Islands. The convoy of mainly motor cruisers will be berthed at Albert Dock, adjacent to the town centre. An old Faroese smack, Westward Ho is also booked to visit Lerwick.
John Scott, Chairman of Shetland Islands Games 2005 Ltd, said: “In the best tradition of Shetland’s long involvement with the sea, the contribution of the port and shipping is central to the Games being held in the Islands and to attracting large attendance. The Harbour Authority’s support and co-operation is greatly appreciated.”