"No availability' is CalMac message

All sailings in and out of Stornoway and Castlebay are closed to car bookings until at least early June, according to the CalMac web-site.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 3:07 pm
A quick look at CalMac's website shows just how limited availability is

The ferry crisis deepened over the past week with CalMac admitting the MV ‘Loch Seaforth’ will not return until May 28th “at the earliest” while the ‘Isle of Lewis’ broke down on Sunday before returning to service the following day.

There is very limited availability on Uig-Tarbert-Lochmaddy services over the next few weeks. However, there has been criticism of the mezzanine on the MV ‘Hebrides’ not being used, thereby limiting availability for freight.

According to CalMac, the time required for cleaning the deck to meet Covid-19 restrictions would delay turnarounds. Uist haulier, Normal MacAskill, suggested this might be addressed by hiring extra cleaners.

Stornoway haulier David Wood called for an inquiry into the state of the CalMac fleet and future implications. He told the Gazette: “What is done is done. We can’t change the past but we definitely have to change the future.

“This is only the beginning. There are no new ships in the offing unless they are planning to buy them. In any other business, heads would roll and there would be a plan but we are hearing nothing about how fundamental issues are to be addressed”. Comhairle nan Eilean on Wednesday issued a detailed “manifesto for change” for incoming transport secretary Michael Matheson.