SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has contacted CalMac this afternoon to request an urgent update following widespread disruption to ferry services in recent days. Cancellations and delays across the network have been due to a combination of adverse weather conditions and technical issues on vessels.

Shops in some islands are reporting shortages of fresh groceries as a result of the cancelled services, with no guarantee yet as to when normal service will resume on a number of routes.

According to CalMac’s latest online updates at time of writing, services between Oban, Castlebay and Lochboisdale will prioritise lifeline freight and foot passengers between today and Saturday, but that the weather forecast means that there will be no return sailings. Meanwhile, MV Hebrides, which serves Uig, Lochmaddy and Tarbert is out of action for technical reasons.

Commenting, after speaking with concerned constituents, Allan said:

“This is a completely unacceptable situation for our islands, and the longer we need to keep waiting for new vessels, the more detrimental the impact on island residents and businesses becomes.

“While the weather conditions are not the fault of CalMac, this situation once again calls into question the fleet’s resilience. Local shops should not be having to put up with absorbing significant financial losses as fresh produce goes to waste due to it being unable to reach its destination on time.

“Disruption on this scale represents a real threat to the livelihoods of island residents, further making the case for there to be more vessels in the Calmac fleet, and for additional ferries secured as soon as possible to act as relief vessels in situations such as this.”

 

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