The Northern Isles ferry operator has launched an investigation into drunken and abusive behaviour on board a vessel following complaints by one of Scotland’s top folk musicians.
The shocking catalogue of antisocial antics was revealed by Orkney songwriter Kris Drever, who gave an account of his voyage from Lerwick to Aberdeen on a social network site.
The post by the Shetland-based performer has so far attracted about 150 responses, from people alleging sexual harassment, theft and drunken, aggressive behaviour on other Serco NorthLink crossings.
The ferry company’s managing director Stuart Garrett confirmed yesterday that it was investigating the incident reported by Mr Drever on June 18 and “as a result, will be taking action”.
The singer said the bar was full of people watching World Cup matches when a man, understood to be from the north of England, offended a string of fellow passengers – including teenage girls – using sleazy language and sexual innuendo.
Later the man was seen shouting at a male friend and the pair had to be separated by bar staff.
Islanders have long complained about a deterioration in behaviour on the ferries.
However until this week both Serco NorthLink and the police have said they had no evidence to support the claims.
Last night Mr Garrett said the company had a zero tolerance policy to both drugs and alcohol and worked closely with police to ensure passengers were fit to travel when they board the vessels.
He added: “Our staff exercise the refusal of alcohol to any passenger whose behaviour is deemed inappropriate or offensive to other passengers.
“We also continue to provide on-board security presence and have no hesitation facilitating custody arrangements for those whose behaviour falls below public decency standards.”
Mr Garrett urged passengers to raise any concerns with ferry staff to make sure they were dealt with “promptly and effectively”, and said this had not happened on the crossing in question.
“These infrequent incidents are taken extremely seriously as they severely undermine the great work carried out by our staff who strive to deliver a high level of quality and service at all times,” he said.