CalMac boss to visit locals angered by ferry cancellations

It comes after CalMac announced the cancellation of a ferry link between Mallaig and Lochboisdale.

CalMac boss to visit South Uist locals angered by ferry cancellations CalMacFerries

The head of Scotland’s national ferry operator is set to meet with locals angered by a near-month long cancellation of its link to the mainland.

It comes after CalMac announced the cancellation of a ferry link between Mallaig and Lochboisdale, South Uist, last month, with the MV Lord Of The Isles being moved to Islay to fill in for their regular vessel.

The cancellation will see the link to the mainland closed until July 1.

Robbie Drummond, the chief executive of CalMac, will visit the South Uist community next week to discuss how the disruption of the Lochboisdale service has affected them.

“The South Uist community is understandably angry that their ferry connections have been cancelled this year, including the recent removal of the Lochboisdale-Mallaig service,” Drummond said.

“This decision has clearly affected people living in the area, as shown by the holding of a public protest at Lochboisdale port. While we have increased sailings on alternative routes, we recognise that the cancellation is an inconvenience to local people, businesses, and visitors.

“I will be in Lochboisdale to meet local representatives on Monday so that I can listen to the concerns of local residents and businesses, and I hope be able to explain the alternative options we have considered, as well as how our route prioritisation matrix helps us to arrive at these extremely tough decisions.”

The Lochboisdale service has been cancelled until June 30 as its regular vessel, MV Lord of the Isles, has been moved to Islay while MV Finlaggan is off on annual maintenance.

Islay’s other vessel, MV Hebridean Isles, is currently off service being repaired.

“I am confident that MV Finlaggan will complete annual maintenance as planned by June 26 so that MV Lord of the Isles can return to the Lochboisdale-Mallaig service at the latest from July 1,” Mr Drummond added.

“In the meantime, there is capacity for passengers travelling to and from South Uist via the Sound of Barra and Lochmaddy, which have additional sailings. Displaced Lochboisdale traffic will be prioritised on those routes.”

MSPs have called on the Scottish Government to pay compensation to island business owners impacted by the loss of almost one month of tourism at the beginning of the season.

Transport secretary Mairi McAllan has said she has not “closed myself off” to such an idea, but that islanders would prefer money be invested in improving the ferry network.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code