SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan yesterday met the Transport minister, Kevin Stewart, along with representatives of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, to express the community’s frustration at the latest ferry problems to afflict the Western Isles in recent days.
Technical problems with MV Loch Seaforth, which serves the Stornoway to Ullapool route, have caused severe disruptions in recent days to all travel in and out of the Isles of Lewis and Harris, with freight and passengers solely dependent on the smaller ferry from Skye to Harris instead.
Alasdair Allan commented:
“The community is increasingly weary of disruptions to the ferry service, most recently those caused by the recent breakdown of MV Loch Seaforth.”
“We Impressed on the new Transport Minister that this situation has been causing real economic and social harm.”
“I have spent much of the last few days dealing with enquiries from families who are stranded in Ullapool or who are trying to get to medical appointments on the mainland.”
“We all made clear to the minister and CalMac that there has to be better planning around breakdown scenarios.”
“The building of several new vessels does offer longer term solutions but, in the here and now, CalMac simply does not have enough ships. The introduction of MV Alfred into the fleet in the coming weeks does ease some of that pressure, but there is clearly an urgent need for another vessel to be chartered to make the fleet more resilient. CalMac also needs to get better at listening to communities.”