Return of CalMac's largest ferry delayed again



Caledonian MacBrayne has announced that the return of its largest ferry to the Stornoway to Ullapool route has been delayed until Monday.

The MV Loch Seaforth suffered an engine failure last month, with further problems uncovered by engineers during repairs.

It had been expected to be back in service on Friday, in time for the bank holiday weekend, but CalMac said the ship’s engine was being rebuilt and it needed a 50 hour sea trial before returning to service.

A damaged crankshaft bearing has been replaced and the ferry’s sump and oil system has also been cleaned and inspected.

Previous return to service dates in April and this month – including 17, 21 and 28 May – have all been missed.

Ferries from other routes have been moved to help maintain services to the Western Isles.

CalMac stated that if the Loch Seaforth successfully resumes service from 31 May, it expects that:

  • Barra-Oban will recommence on 2 June with the MV Isle of Lewis.

  • Islay-Kennacraig two-vessel service on 2 June – the MV Heb Isles will return to this service.

  • Brodick-Ardrossan two vessel service will resume on 3 June – MV Isle of Arran will return from the Islay service.

  • Campbeltown Summer season will start on 3 June with the MV Isle of Arran.

  • Lochboisdale-Mallaig and Mallaig-Armadale will recommence on 2 June with the MV Lord of the Isles.

On arrival at Stornoway, the Loch Seaforth will undertake further inspection to ensure that no further issues have arisen from the sea trials.

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Until the MV Loch Seaforth is back in service, existing temporary arrangements and timetables will remain in place, including the replacement freight service on Stornoway-Ullapool and the temporary timetable on Ardrossan-Brodick.

Robbie Drummond, managing director of CalMac, said: “Specialists are working throughout the day and night on the MV Loch Seaforth to ensure her safe return to Stornoway-Ullapool.

“This has been an extremely frustrating time for passengers and our staff and I am grateful to them all for their continued patience.”

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