A ferry operator has announced temporary plans for passengers after a vessel was pulled from service after developing a fault with its firefighting system, for the second time in less than a week.
CalMac ferry MV Hebrides, which operates between Lochmaddy in North Uist, Tarbert in Harris and Uig on Skye, was removed from service on Monday for further essential repairs.
The vessel is departing Lochmaddy on Tuesday to sail to the Dales yard in Greenock, with the required work set to start on Wednesday morning.
All options for a relief vessel have been explored and vessels across the rest of the CalMac network will remain on their timetabled routes for the current time.
Passengers have been warned that there will be no services between Uig and Tarbert on Wednesday 3 August, or Thursday 4 August.
MV Lord of the Isles is operating additional services between Lochboisdale and Armadale which will be sailing on Wednesday and will operate to Armadale again on Thursday afternoon.
Booked passengers are being moved onto the timetabled Lochboisdale to Mallaig, Barra to Oban and Stornoway to Ullapool routes, and local hauliers have agreed to move commercial bookings to make space for other vehicles.
These diversions have been in place since this morning and all traffic has managed to be accommodated.
During the temporary changes, all Stornoway to Ullapool sailings will operate to the normal timetable, while Lochboisdale to Mallaig sailings have been adjusted to allow diversions to Armadale for commercial traffic that is too big to go under road bridges to Mallaig.
Any vehicles too big to get to Mallaig will travel to Armadale to return to Lochboisdale.
Customers are being advised to check service updates on the CalMac website and Twitter page, while booked passengers are being contacted directly.
Managing director of CalMac, Robbie Drummond apologised to customers for the disruption.
He said: “Customers will understandably be upset about this latest disruption to their journeys, and I am deeply sorry for what they are going through.
“Moving them onto other routes is far from ideal but without a spare vessel, this is the best option we have available.
“We will find out what is causing this malfunction and get it fixed properly by a specialist team.
“I would like to thank customers, including hauliers and businesses who have agreed to move bookings, for their patience and support at this very difficult time.
“While we know this process is time consuming and frustrating for customers, our staff are doing their very best to help and should not be subjected to aggression or violent behaviour”.
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