SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has called today in Parliament for the Transport Minister to press CalMac for urgent improvements to ferry services from Lochboisdale. This follows an announcement made by CalMac this afternoon, which stated that Lochboisdale would once again be without a ferry service for an estimated eight days from this Tuesday as a result of a technical issue on MV Lord of the Isles.
CalMac have said that essential planned repairs need to be carried out on the vessel’s drencher system, but that it is not possible to deploy a relief vessel to the Mallaig-Lochboisdale route, as all of CalMac’s other vessels are already operating at capacity on timetabled routes elsewhere across the network. CalMac have also said that passengers booked on the route from the 17th May onwards are being contacted, with lifeline services being prioritised for space on the Lochmaddy service as an alternative.
Commenting after this afternoon’s announcement, Allan said:
“South Uist far too often draws the short straw when one of CalMac’s aging vessels succumbs to another technical issue. Islanders have already experienced severe disruption in recent months, with Lochboisdale, for example, ending up without a ferry service for almost the entirety of the month of March.
“I today again raised in Parliament the frustration of islanders who are once again facing significant disruption to their lifeline service, and Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth agreed to speak with CalMac directly about this issue. It is my hope that a plan to meaningfully improve South Uist’s ferry service can be identified and enacted sooner rather than later, as the current situation cannot go on like this indefinitely.”