Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan earlier today raised CalMac’s winter maintenance schedule during First Minister’s Questions.

Every CalMac vessel requires essential annual maintenance over the winter months. This presents the company with a complex logistical problem to keep services running while vessels are away from their normal routes.

The islands MSP highlighted how the increased demand for “staycations” will put pressure on services later into the year than usual, and asked about preparations being made for this year’s dry-docking and maintenance programme.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“There has righty been a lot of focus on the issues we have experienced over the summer as social distancing constrained ferry capacity at the busiest time of year. However, for many island communities winter also brings significant challenges.

“As CalMac rotates its fleet to cover vessels entering drydock for annual maintenance and refits, communities can find themselves with a diminished service or a vessel unsuitable for the route. This is especially the case in Barra, where the ageing MV Isle of Arran is far too often brought in to act as relief on the longest route in the network.

“With the demand for sailings likely to continue beyond the normal shoulder months, we need to ensure disruption to communities is minimised as much as possible.”

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