Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, is seeking answers on CalMac’s vessel maintenance figures in the wake of the disruption which has been caused on the Uig triangle route over recent weeks.
The ferry which normally covers the route between Uig, Lochmaddy and Tarbert, the MV Hebrides, was taken off the route and is being deployed elsewhere as a cover vessel for other ferries and to allow the MV Hebrides itself to go into dry dock for maintenance.
Residents in the region believe that as the smaller ferries deployed to cover the route, the MV Hebridean Isles and the MV Isle of Arran, are not designed for the Uig triangle route this has resulted in numerous cancellations and delays have been experienced in recent weeks, leaving private and commercial passengers facing severe disruption.
Commenting, Mrs Grant said: “I am astonished to be advised (via a Parliamentary Answer) that the Scottish Government, which owns CalMac, does not hold information on the maintenance budgets for the fleet.
“People from all over Scotland have been affected by these disruptions recently and this is simply not acceptable.
“It is more than a complete inconvenience for individuals who have to change plans at the last minute, often meaning they have to take more time off work but further, businesses cannot continue to operate on this ad-hoc basis.
“The Comhairle supports my concerns on this matter, and even Alasdair Allan, the constituency MSP for the Western Isles, is very belatedly stepping into the row which his government is ultimately responsible for.
Mrs Grant continued: “Some people affected are questioning why one of the most reliable routes to the Islands is suddenly facing this disruption and I would like to know how much has been spent on the maintenance of CalMac’s vessels in recent years.
“That the Scottish Government does not know this beggars belief and I am raising further questions to gain access to these answers.”
Mrs Grant is now submitting an FOI request to David MacBrayne Ltd about maintenance.