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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-06281: Lewis Macdonald (North East Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 20 January 2017

To ask the Scottish Government when the negotiations between Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd and Seatruck Ferries for the bareboat charter agreement for the Helliar and Hildasay vessels commenced, and by what date (a) they will conclude and (b) the agreement will enter into effect.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 31 January 2017

The Scottish Government has been seeking to resolve the issue of pay rates for staff on the vessels since 2014 when the matter was first highlighted. Since then both myself, and previously Keith Brown, have written regarding the National Minimum Wage issue to the UK Minister for State at the Department of Transport with responsibility for the maritime sector. In addition Transport Scotland has had a number of meetings and exchanges with Seatruck Ferries Limited over this period to try and satisfactorily resolve this issue.

More recently, on 10 November 2016 I met with the Managing Director of Seatruck Ferries Limited to discuss crew pay rates on the freighters leased to Serco Northlink Ferries to operate the Northern Isles Ferry Service.

Following this constructive meeting Transport Scotland and Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited were tasked with working with Seatruck Ferries Limited to put in place a bareboat charter agreement for the MV Helliar and MV Hildasay in order to facilitate resolution of the issue.

The bareboat charter was signed by Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited and Seatruck Ferries Limited on 7 January 2017. It is anticipated that the transfer of the lease will occur in February 2017, once both vessels have been fully surveyed and all financial and regulatory checks have been concluded.