A temporary timetable has been introduced to provide a lifeline ferry service to the Northern Isles during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Serco Northlink Ferries has revealed details of the new timetable, which comes into action on Sunday.
In line with advice from the Scottish Government and health officials, restrictions have been implemented to allow only necessary travel, resulting in a significant reduction in passenger numbers.
From April 5, the Aberdeen-Kirkwall-Lerwick passenger service will move to a revised schedule seeing one passenger ship operating on an off-peak timetable.
Sailings will take place from: Aberdeen to Lerwick on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday; Lerwick to Aberdeen on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; Aberdeen to Kirkwall on Thursday and Sunday; Kirkwall to Aberdeen on Wednesday and Friday.
MV Hamnavoe, the passenger vessel which sails between Scrabster and Stromness, will remain on a two trip a day timetable.
NorthLink Ferries’ freight service plays a vital part in the Northern Isles supply chain and will continue to provide daily connections to and from the Northern Isles in tandem with the passenger vessel schedule.
The timetable is currently projected to run until Sunday May 3 but will be extended further as required in tandem with any restrictions on movement advice received.
Additional changes may be introduced at short notice, and when travelling passengers must follow strict social distancing requirements at all times.
Stuart Garrett, Serco’s managing director of NorthLink Ferries, said: “The wellbeing of our passengers and staff is always our top priority and since the outset of Covid-19 we have taken all the necessary precautions to ensure their health and safety.
“We will continually review the changing situation and shape our response in line with the most recent guidance from Government and health officials. It’s for this reason that we are now introducing a temporary revised timetable to support essential lifeline services while responding to the reduction in passenger footfall.”
NorthLink Ferries has implemented restrictions to allow only necessary travel for island residents, key workers and those travelling to provide medical support to family members. A reduced on board offering and terminal usage has also been put in place.