Covid case triggers disruption of CalMac Arran route with arrival of emergency ferry

CALMAC has brought in an emergency vessel after two days of service cancellation on one of Scotland’s busiest ferry crossings.

The MV Loch Linnhe, one of the oldest in the aging fleet operated by CalMac, was put into service after a series of cancellations on the Ardrossan route to Arran caused by a member of staff testing positive for Covid on board the MV Caledonian Isles.

CalMac made new crossings using the MV Catriona – which normally operates on Claonaig-Lochranza on Sunday after the MV Caledonian Isles was out of service after the outbreak.

The MV Caledonian Isles is thoroughly cleaned and close contacts are identified.

MV Loch Linnhe will now operate a shuttle service between Claonaig on the mainland and Lochranza on Arran to assist passengers affected by the disruption.

READ MORE: Emergency ferry to maintain Scottish lifeline services costs taxpayers £ 11,760 per day

The MV Isle of Arran still operates on the two-ship crossing, but departures have been cut.

CalMac is working on the deployment of Loch Linnhe to operate a shuttle service to assist passengers who have been affected by the disruption.

CalMac has stated that the 7 a.m., 9.45 a.m., 12:30 p.m. departures from Ardrossan and the 8:20 a.m., 11:05 a.m. and 1:55 p.m. services from Brodick are canceled.

There have been other sailings cancellations involving the MV Caledonian Isles at 3:20 pm from Ardrossan and 4:40 pm from Brodick.

CalMac said the MV Caledonian Isles is scheduled to return to service tonight to allow for drying time after deep cleaning and crew boarding. It should start at 6 p.m. from Ardrossan and at 7.20 p.m. from Brodick.

A CalMac spokesperson said: “A crew member has tested positive for Covid, and the MV Caledonian Isles sailings have been canceled for the time being as a result.

“Close contacts are identified and the ship is thoroughly cleaned. The MV Isle of Arran is still functioning.”

It comes as transport chiefs continue their search to charter reinforcements for the besieged Scottish fleet after a summer of disruption and blackouts.

CalMac is currently paying a bill of £ 11,760 per day to charter an Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Limited emergency ferry, owned by the Isle of Man government, to help maintain essential passenger services and freight.

The MV Arrow was put into service to help relieve the pressure on freight services between the Stornoway crossing from CalMac to Ullapool, but broke down on July 24 after running for only a week. Marine debris got tangled with a propeller and all sailing was abandoned until the end of the month.

Delivery of the new MV Glen Sannox and Hull 802 island ferries, which were due to go live in the first half of 2018, are more than four years behind schedule, with costs doubling to over £ 200million. Glen Sannox was to support the road to Arran.

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