Lifeline ferry delayed by four months amid £5m repair work

The MV Caledonian Isles entered annual overhaul on January 4 for repair work.

CalMac Arran ferry MV Caledonian Isles delayed by four months due to £5m repair work Calmac Ferries

A lifeline ferry’s return to service has been delayed by four months as part of an annual overhaul.

CalMac confirmed MV Caledonian Isles, one of its older vessels, has delayed its return to service by approximately sixteen weeks.

The vessel entered annual overhaul on January 4 with MV Alfred operating on the Isle of Arran route between Ardrossan and Brodick while repairs were ongoing.

The ferry operator say significant steel renewal and repair works totalling an estimated £5m were confirmed by the dry dock operator on Wednesday.

The vessel’s main and auxiliary engines need removed as part of the repairs with the impact of not having the ferry in service for the start of the summer timetable being under assessment.

The vessel's main and auxiliary engines need removed as part of the repairs say CalMac. Photo: STV News.STV News

Revised deployment plans are due to be published by Monday, March 4.

Robbie Drummond, CalMac chief executive, said: “We know this news will cause concern and frustration for communities across the whole network, and we apologise for this.

“Our team will be working exceptionally hard over the coming days to assess every eventuality in terms of vessel deployment, with a view to minimising disruption for the communities and customers we serve.

“We will do the best we can in these circumstances, but it is unavoidable that there will be a knock-on effect on other routes on the network.

“MV Caledonian Isles has served North Ayrshire with distinction for over three decades, but like any ageing vessel the scope of work required in annual overhaul is likely to grow each year.

“Over a third of our vessels are now operating beyond their average life expectancy, and we invested record levels in annual maintenance in 2023.

“We are stretched to the absolute limit in terms of network deployment already, and the arrival of six major and ten small vessels in the coming years will provide much-needed resilience and reliability to the service.”

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