A chartered emergency catamaran designed to ease the strain on Arran’s ferry link will enter service on Friday, after weeks of delays.
MV Alfred was brought in on a nine-month long loan from Orkney-based Pentland Ferries but suffered a fault with its hydraulic systems before it could take to the water.
The vessel had successfully completed trials berthing at several of CalMac’s west coast ports.
It will now carry passengers between Ardrossan and Brodick on a “turn up and go basis” as part of a two-week trial to determine whether it is a viable vessel for the route, CalMac said.
However, the firm said technical issues meant it was unable to sail on alternative routes at the current time.
CalMac chief executive, Robbie Drummond, said: “We very much welcome the introduction into service of MV Alfred and the resilience that she will offer. Her addition should mitigate the impact of disruption or when certain islands are reduced to single vessel service.
“The main route to and from Arran has been operating with one vessel for some time, so the addition of MV Alfred will provide much-needed support to the local community.”
The company said problems with the vessel’s starboard thruster meant it was unsuitable for use at Port Askaig, while extensive ramp modifications are required for Troon and Campbeltown deployment.
CalMac added its deployment would be reviewed on an ongoing basis.
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