A busy CalMac route has shut down after the only boat in service between Brodick and Ardrossan broke down on Thursday.
MV Isle of Arran, one of the operator’s oldest vessels, has been withdrawn after a leak was found from its exhaust system into the engine room.
The 40-year-old ferry has been serving Arran on its own since issues arose with Caledonian Isles and MV Hebridean Isles, cutting the number of available vehicle spaces to about half.
CalMac said the issue required immediate repairs for safety reasons, and crew and external contractors are working to get it back in action.
The 1.55pm service from Brodick to Ardrossan was the last sailing of the day and was delayed to 3pm to allow as many passengers as possible time to travel to Brodick.
A review will be held at around 10pm on Thursday to evaluate if the service will resume on Friday, April 14.
As an alternative, the national ferry operator has asked passengers to travel on the Lochranza – Claonaig service.
The route’s last sailings of Thursday will be the 7pm service departing from Claonaig and the 6.25pm departing from Lochranza.
Buses are in place from Ardrossan at 3.30pm headed for Claonaig, to provide a connection to Arran for foot passengers, followed by a connecting bus from Lochranza to Brodick.
Buses will also depart Brodick at 6pm for Lochranza to provide a connection to the mainland for foot passengers, with a connecting bus from Claonaig to Ardrossan.
However, CalMac has warned that buses will be “severely limited”.
A CalMac spokeswoman said that affected customers were contacted “as soon as possible to give them time to make their way to the final sailing”.
She added: “Transport was also arranged to take foot passengers on Arran to Lochranza this afternoon. An additional return sailing will operate on this route this evening if there is demand from displaced passengers.
“Vessel crew and contractors will begin repairs upon arrival in Ardrossan this afternoon and a review for Friday’s sailings will be announced this evening.
“We are working as quickly as possible to reinstate the Ardrossan-Brodick service and are sorry for this disruption at what is a very busy time for Arran.”
It comes while several of the firm’s other vessels are also been out of commission, causing severe disruption to islanders.
CalMac’s biggest vessel, the MV Loch Seaforth, returned to action on Wednesday after being sidelined for three days due to engine issues.
The MV Loch Tarbert and MV Loch Fyne also needed repairs over Easter Sunday and Monday, causing disruption, before returning to service on Wednesday.
MV Caledonian Isles, MV Hebridean Isles and MV Clansman have not been in service since the summer timetable began on April 1.