Orkney’s Scapa Flow is famous as the resting place of the German High Seas Fleet, some of the best shellfish you’ll find in the UK and for its reputation as a safe harbour for ship to ship transfers of oil.
But the iconic anchorage is currently playing host to a new visitor, never seen before in the islands.
The semi-submersible oil industry accommodation vessel ‘Regalia’ is currently berthed in the Flow, and looks set to stay over the winter as refurbishment works take place.
The ninety-five metre long vessel has nearly 300 accommodation cabins for oil workers and has been in service in the Solan Field, west of Shetland.
Around fifty employees will remain on-board during the renovations.
It’s a new business stream for Orkney Islands Council’s Marine Services department, with more oil related work expected to arrive in local waters in the coming months.
Head of Marine Services with the Council, Brian Archibald, said: ‘As one of the world’s great anchorages, Scapa Flow has seen all manner of vessels anchored and moored there over the ages and the arrival of the Regalia is a continuation of that proud heritage.
‘As we know, Orkney in general and Scapa Flow in particular have benefited from marine activity within the energy industry and the Regalia is part of that long association.
Scapa Flow is currently much busier than it has been for some years due to increased activity levels at Flotta as well as the increased use of the Flow for anchoring vessels such as the Regalia and for Ship to Ship operations, all of which are significantly benefitting the local supply chain as well as the harbour itself.’
‘It is hoped that this very welcome upturn in activity persists, but it must continue to be carefully and sensitively managed.’