People of the Western Isles Let Down

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has expressed deep concerns over plans to use the MV Isle of Arran on the Stornoway-Ullapool ferry freight service.

The Isle of Arran can only take 4 artic lorries as opposed to the 30 on the MV Loch Seaforth and 13 on the MV Isle of Lewis. Even a double run of the Arran would appear to fall way short of what is required.

Comhairle Leader, Roddie Mackay, said: “Once again, the people of the Western Isles are being let down by CalMac. Using the Isle of Arran highlights CalMac’s failure to provide the service for which they have been contracted. This latest service reduction comes on top of significant harm done to the Barra service and Barra economy. We need a complete overhaul of the cumbersome, ineffective and outdated structures of CMAL and CalMac Management. They are not delivering and haven’t been for some years. 

“The prospect of a long-term loss of ferry service to the Western Isles at least for the remainder of April – and in all likelihood well into May – while MV Loch Seaforth is out of service, will be yet another major economic blow to our islands and our people and we are looking for urgent confirmation that MV Isle of Lewis will continue the freight service until a more suitable vessel is procured.

“We also support the calls for compensation for those businesses who have been detrimentally affected by this service failure and who have incurred significant additional costs.”