CalMac ‘extremely sorry’ as discovery of new fault delays ferry return

The Lord of the Isles ferry was withdrawn on Thursday after problems relating to corroded steel were found.

CalMac ‘extremely sorry’ as Uist ferry repairs disrupt services in Western Isles as new fault found Transport Scotland

Another fault has been discovered in an out-of-service ferry leaving travel in the Western Isles disrupted.

The Lord of the Isles ferry was withdrawn on Thursday after problems relating to corroded steel were found.

On Saturday morning, a further problem was confirmed with a fault with the vessel’s radar system leading to sailings being cancelled.

Operator CalMac said it was “extremely sorry” for the travel disruption in the Western Isles.

The Lord of the Isles’ usual service to South Uist was cancelled and traffic was redirected via Lochmaddy in North Uist.

A CalMac spokeswoman said: “We apologise for the cancellation of the Lochboisdale service due to corroded steel being discovered on MV Lord of the Isles.

“The area where the defect was identified was not part of the planned and scheduled survey area during this year’s annual overhaul programme.

“Due to available capacity on services in and out of Lochmaddy, traffic has been redirected from Lochboisdale during this disruption.

“The vessel was taken to Kennacraig where the works carried out on her steelwork have been completed, however due to an emergent issue with her radar system which restricts the vessel’s operation in hours of darkness, Saturday’s sailings have been cancelled.

“Impacted traffic continues to be redirected to the Lochmaddy – Uig route which has available capacity on both Saturday departures.

“MV Lord of the Isles will operate an amended timetable from Lochboisdale – Mallaig on Sunday and Monday.

“We are extremely sorry for the disruption to customers caused by the loss of MV Lord of the Isles, and the impact this has on the local communities we serve.”

Concerns have previously been raised in the Scottish Parliament about CalMac’s ageing fleet of vessels.

In August, opposition MSPs voiced anger at disruption caused by problems with the MV Hebrides ferry.

Ongoing breakdowns, suspensions and cancellations to ferries are having a “catastrophic” effect on business and tourism in the Western Isles, islanders have said.