CalMac chief ‘frustrated’ by delayed return to service of Islay ferry

The MV Finlaggan was due to return to service on Wednesday but will now be delayed until Saturday.

CalMac chief ‘frustrated’ by delayed return to service of Islay ferry PA Media

Ferry operator CalMac’s chief executive has said he is “frustrated” by a delay to the Islay vessel’s return to service.

CalMac announced the MV Finlaggan ferry has been delayed in its annual maintenance, with service now due to resume on Saturday May 18.

Vessels were redeployed to cover the important island route in April and CalMac has said the temporary timetable will continue until the MV Finlaggan returns at the weekend.

The vessel’s annual overhaul had previously been rescheduled to fall after the busy Easter holiday period and to ensure it returns to services before the Islay Festival in late May.

The ferry was originally due to return to the Kennacraig to Islay route from Wednesday May 15.

Duncan Mackison, CalMac’s interim chief executive, said: “We are frustrated that MV Finlaggan’s return has been delayed, and our fleet management team has had a regular presence at the shipyard recently.

“We have made it absolutely clear that these delays, even if only for a few days, have a real, detrimental impact on the islands and communities we serve.”

The ferry operator said it will be “much better equipped” to deal with maintenance delays and service disruption in the coming months when the MV Glen Sannox and Isle of Islay vessels enter service, followed by four additional ferries by 2026.

CalMac has been supporting Uist and Barra with fuel supplies, putting additional pressure on services, after the pier normally used for this was condemned.

The firm had hoped to redeploy MV Isle of Mull from the South Uist service to support Mull, however, it has said this will not be possible without the Finlaggan due to the need to deliver vital supplies to Uist and Barra.

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