CalMac tackling ferry issues on the West Coast

The Loch Seaforth is currently out of action.
The Loch Seaforth is currently out of action.

Staff are working round the clock to get Scotland’s West Coast ferry service back to normal, according to CalMac boss Robbie Drummond.

Progress is being made in a bid to get two major ferries back on their routes following technical problems.

A period of bad weather, technical breakdowns and the annual overhaul programme have led to severe problems on CalMac’s network.

The MV Loch Seaforth remains out of service due to technical issues which emerged en route to Stornoway after completing her annual dry dock overhaul.

And the MV Isle of Arran is also awaiting specialist contractors finishing work that will see her return to operation.

Calmac Managing Director Robbie Drummond said: “Technical problems and bad weather have hit us hard in the past few days.

“However, we have our people working round the clock to bring in contractors and to get our service back to normal as soon as possible.

“We know the impact not having these services is having on our island communities and all our focus is on fixing these problems.

“We are working extremely hard to keep traffic moving within the available fleet resources we have but realise that there will be some inconvenience for passengers which we apologise for.”

A number of external suppliers and specialist engineers have been brought in to fix the technical issues. It is hoped that this will be achieved before the weekend.

The MV Isle of Lewis will remain on the Ullapool-Stornoway route until the situation is resolved.

Amended timetables are being put place on these routes for the remainder of the week and some sailings are being operated by alternative vessels.

Robbie added: “We have just instigated our biggest ever programme of overhaul and refit aimed at making our service more resilient. As it happens we are in the peak of that dry dock refit process which has also had an impact on the vessels available to us.

“We have also put in place our own in-house mobile maintenance team and that has made a huge difference to supporting the fleet. I am confident that we can sort these issues quickly and get back to providing our much needed lifeline services.”

The routes affected are:

Oban-Coll-Tiree

Oban-Castlebay

Oban-Craignure

Oban -Lochboisdale

Oban-Colonsay