MSP questions minister on Barra ferry repairs

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Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan has raised the issue of the recent technical issues affecting the MV Isle of Lewis with Minister for the Islands Paul Wheelhouse MSP.

MV Isle of Lewis came off service after returning to Castlebay on April 14th with an issue with her bow thrusters.

As the vessel blocked the berth in Castlebay and was unable to put to sea, no relief vessel could come alongside.

Bad weather also hampered repair efforts with disruptions occurring on the Sound of Barra service.

The islands MSP raised the issue during the session of General Question Time at the Scottish Parliament.

Commenting, Alasdair Allan MSP said: “The technical fault affecting the MV Isle of Lewis left Barra without a mainland link for far too long.

“While the weather was certainly a mitigating factor in hampering repair efforts, this incident shows that we need to be moving towards a situation where communities are less reliant on either replacement parts or engineers having to be flown in for vessel repairs.

“The Scottish Government’s establishment of the resilience fund for Calmac vessels was a welcome step in helping to make sure that proactive action is taken to prevent breakdowns and minimise any disruption in the event of a mechanical problem. I hope we see fewer of these incidents in the future.”