Second outage of Scottish government emergency rescue ferry at £ 11,760 per day

A FERRY chartered by the Scottish Government to support Scotland’s besieged ferry network was one of two CalMac ships that broke down within 24 hours.

The MV Arrow, brought in to help ease the pressure on freight services between CalMac’s Stornoway on Isle Lewis and Ullapool, has been taken out of service for the second time since chartering just over a month ago.

The state-owned ferry operator said a technical issue with the steering gear pump resulted in the MV Arrow being taken out of service yesterday (Tuesday).

The MV Loch Seaforth was diverted from its passenger service duties to perform overnight freight service and CalMac said there could be further disruption today (Wednesday).

READ MORE: German company Navalue secures £ 375,000 to help learn lessons from new Scottish ferry concept

Meanwhile, an engine problem with the 16-year-old MV Bute caused sailings to be canceled yesterday between Wemyss Bay and Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, with the possibility of further disruptions today (Wednesday) while repairs are attempted.

MV Bute. Source: YouTube (kurlts)

The taxpayer pays the bill for £ 11,760 per day to charter the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Limited MV Arrow, owned by the Isle of Man government.

The ro-ro ferry joined the CalMac fleet on short-term charter from July 19 to September 7.

CalMac hoped chartering the MV Arrow would free up space on its MV Loch Seaforth ferry, especially during the busiest weeks of the summer tourist season.

She resumed the evening freight navigation of the MV Loch Seaforth six days a week. This allowed the Seaforth to offer two additional passenger crossings per week.

When commissioned, Transport Minister Graeme Dey said he would bring “extra capacity” to a key route during the busy summer season.

“We recognize the frustration of communities with the recent disruption and the impact it is having. We are doing everything we can, supporting CalMac to maximize the capacity available on the network, ”he said.

But after only a week of service, it found itself out of service for 10 days in July after marine debris got tangled with a propeller and all navigations were scrapped until the end of the month.

Now, 21 days after returning to action, it’s out of service again, and CalMac has warned freight service is likely to be disrupted or canceled in the short term today (Wednesday).

In June last year, an investigation was opened after the freight ferry ran aground at the entrance to Aberdeen port.

READ MORE: CalMac warns of compensation claims as investigation launches into biggest ferry failure

Operated this time by NorthLink, it encountered difficulties during maneuvers on its arrival from Lerwick.

Aberdeen Coast Guard said the ship was freed by tugs from the port and was eventually able to continue to the dock.

Herald Scotland:

CalMac said the MV Bute was taken out of service around 9am yesterday resulting in cancellations and some crossings will be operated on my MV Argyle.

He said if the repairs are successfully completed on Tuesday evening, the ship will have to begin sea trials on Wednesday morning.

As a result, the 7:05 am departure from Rothesay today (Wednesday) has been canceled.

CalMac said the “intention” is for the ship, which can accommodate 450 passengers and 60 cars, to resume service with the 8:05 am departure from Wemyss Bay.

The latest blackouts came amid weekly problems with Scotland’s aging rescue ferry fleet and growing anger over a “waste” of public money over the ferry-building fiasco in Scotland. Scotland.

The August 2019 collapse of Ferguson Marine Engineering (FMEL) led by magnate Jim McColl, who runs the last remaining shipyard on the Lower Clyde, came amid skyrocketing costs and delays in construction of two vital island ferries and resulted in its nationalization by the Scottish government.

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.

The Scottish government has said it believes it is acting in the public interest by taking full control of Ferguson Marine by December 2019, as it saved the yard from closure, saved more than 300 jobs and ensured that the two vessels under construction will be completed. .

Yesterday The Herald revealed that German ship design consultants Navalue were awarded £ 360,000 to help with the concept of a batch of seven new ferries to replace aging CalMac ships and try to provide better and greener rescue services. for the Scottish Islands.

Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), owner of Scottish Government Controlled Rescue Bins, will investigate the feasibility of designing low emission bins which are expected to be introduced over the next ten years to replace existing vessels which are all over 25 years.

A CalMac spokesperson said: “The MV Argyle is making a reduced number of starts today while the MV Bute is under repair.

“Following a problem with the steering gear pump on the MV Arrow, the MV Seaforth will resume its scheduled cargo cruises. We apologize for any problem. ”

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