SAIL – ONE DAY ONLY.
For one day only the MV Isle of Mull was redeployed.
She left her normal route temporarily to cover Coll and Tiree.
CalMac is facing a crisis as a result of being a major vessel down.
The MV Clansman is still in dry dock and will probably be some for some time.
To make matters worse Good Friday witnessed the start of the Summer Timetable.
Following the Easter weekend an announcement was made stating:
CalMac will be redeploying these vessels to the following routes:
MV Hebrides will return to Uig-Tarbert/Lochmaddy tonight
and will commence service tomorrow
MV Lord of the Isles will be re-deployed to Oban
to carry out Oban-Coll/Tiree and Colonsay services
MV Hebridean Isles will be re-deployed to Lochboisdale
to carry out daily Lochboisdale-Oban service
The Tuesday sailing from Oban to Coll and Tiree was cancelled.
This was in part due to the need to have vessels in the appropriate ports.
However on Tuesday the MV Lord of the Isles was storm bound at Lochboisdale.
On Wednesday the MV Lord of the Isles departed Lochboisdale for Oban.
The MV Isle of Mull covered her morning roster to Craigure on Mull.
Then the MV Coruisk commenced a shuttle service to Mull.
The MV Isle of Mull departed Oban Ferry Terminal at 12:42pm.
She sailed direct to the Isle of Tiree berthing at 16:08pm.
She arrived to bright blue skies and sea.
“A real Tiree welcome!”
The wind this afternoon was gusting from the north at 31mph.
With great patience and skill the Skipper berthed her safely.
He began by taking her bow across the pier’s roundhead.
At the same the stern was slowly brought in.
(Vessels berth stern first at Tiree)
With no sailing the previous day the MV Isle of Mull was extremely busy.
As a consequence and as a result of sailing direct to Tiree
both Tiree and Coll Traffic had to be off-loaded.
This resulted in considerable delay.
Coll traffic has to be reversed down the linkspan and onto the ferry.
This included reversing an articulated lorry down the linkspan.
Then in the confines of the car deck manoeuvring it into place.
This all added to the delay in the vessel’s departure.
It looked as if a shoehorn would be required to board the final vehicles.
All booked traffic bar the bin-lorry for Coll was accommodated.
Finally the vessel departed for Coll at 17:16pm
The whole operation took over an hour.
Tomorrow (Thursday) an other amended timetable will be in operation.
CalMac have issued the following timetable:
Thursday 5th April
Depart Oban 04:15
Arrrive Coll 07:20, Depart Coll 07:30
Arrive Tiree 08:30, Depart Tiree 09:00
Arrive Coll 10:00, Depart Coll 10:15
Arrive Oban 13:20, Depart Oban 14:00
Arrive Tiree 17:30, Depart Tiree 18:00
Arrive Oban 21:30
Tiree will have two sailings.
The MV Isle of Mull normally sails between Oban and Craignure on the Isle of Mull.
In the past she has visited Castlebay, Coll, Tiree and the Adrossan-Brodick Route.
She can carry more passengers than the MV Clansman, but fewer vehicles.
She can carry a maximum of 80 vehicles.
She has a maximum speed of 15 knots.
The MV Clansman can carry 90 vehicles and has a maximum speed of 16.5 knots.
The MV Lord of Isles can carry a maximum of 54 vehicles
She can also sail at speed 16 knots
CalMac Ferries’ Interim Managing Director, Robbie Drummond, stated,
The average age of the ferries serving these routes is just under 22 years old
and CalMac’s fleet will again be stretched to its full capacity over the summer months.
Any issues with a vessel on one part of the network will have knock-on effects for other routes,
as boats need to be diverted or deployed elsewhere to keep the lifeline network running.
The working life expectancy of a ferry deployed on routes
like those on Scotland’s western seaboard is around 25 years,
so with nearly half of the ferries working these routes already beyond that milestone –
and having been used intensively during those years of service –
the risk of mechanical failures and breakdown is significant.
It also takes longer to get older boats back into service when things do go wrong,
often due to the difficulty in sourcing parts across Europe.
What is particularly difficult is the short notice that CalMac has given of the changes.
It is appreciated in the present circumstances that vessels need to be redeployed.
You appreciate that wind and weather can cause necessary delays.
To give less than 24 hours notice of redeployment is unhelpful.
Funeral or wedding arrangements have to be remade.
Local business incurs additional expense.
And business reliability is questioned.
Pier staff often work under challenging circumstances.
However they are frequently at the frontline when it comes to complaints.
They ought to have our respect for their professionalism in the present crisis.
This ‘Life on Tiree’ on a day of spring sunshine.
It was also a day of a chilly north wind and white horses.
The MV Isle of Mull heads out to sea bound for Oban via Coll.