Cancellations on the South Uist ferry service could last until next month as the
ship undergoes urgent repairs.
The MV Lord of the Isles (Loti) cannot undertake commercial voyages after thinning
steel was discovered on her hull.
The lack of a replacement service is expected to be highlighted in the Scottish Parliament
this week when Cal Mac bosses may be quizzed if vessel replacement and deployment
plans are sufficient to ensure robust service provision.
On the Loti, the weakened section will have to be cut out and replaced with new metal.
However, the full extent of the problem will not be known until the underwater hull
of the vessel is fully examined in dry dock.
No timescale can be confirmed but Cal Mac is making contingency plans in case the
the ship is out of action beyond the end of this month.
The Lochboisdale - Mallaig / Oban service is cancelled until she returns.
Ironically, the vessel was off service for an extended refit but the thin steel was
only discovered after she returned to Lochboisdale in December.
Robert Kelso, Cal Mac’s fleet technical manager, said: “We cannot say how long the
repairs will take until the work has been formally assessed and scoped but we will
do everything we can to get her back into service as soon as possible. In the meantime,
we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Additional early morning and late evening sailings on the Sound of Barra route will
allow connections to Castlebay for the MV Isle of Arran’s sailings to Oban.
Ferry cancellations could continue into next month