Arran ferry crash causes traffic chaos

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By Mark Davey

MV Caledonian Isles the largest ferry serving Arran has been removed from service following a collision.

At 2pm on Saturday, the vessel was coming alongside the Brodick Pier and its bow thrusters failed, resulting in what Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) calls ‘a heavy contact being made with the pier fenders.’

A service update on CalMac’s website states: ‘This has resulted in some damage which will require further investigation.’

The Banner understands, from a CalMac officer, that the MV Caledonian Isles has a dent in its bow visor.

The update which will last a week from last Sunday to Sunday March 24 means that MV Caledonian Isles will be replaced with the smaller MV Hebridean Isles.

The statement continues: ‘We will be unable to accommodate all booked traffic on our sailings due to MV Hebridean Isles having less capacity than MV Caledonian Isles.

‘Please note we will not be able to accommodate any un-booked traffic throughout this period.

‘We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause to our customers.’

In addition, MV Catriona is operating, an approximately hourly shuttle service between Lochranza and Claonaig to assist with traffic from the Ardrossan to Brodick route.

On Tuesday afternoon, a CalMac Spokesperson added: ‘The MV Caledonian Isles is in Garvel and the extent of the damage is being assessed.

‘At this stage we are aiming for MV Caledonian Isles to be back in service tomorrow or Sunday.’

On Monday afternoon, on board the MV Catriona, there were many customers who had driven the 125 miles from Ardrossan to Claonaig, which takes about three hours.

They were asked to buy a further ticket even if they had an existing booking on the Ardrossan ferry. They were told to sort out any prior bookings and payments either at the Brodick office or online.

Another passenger, who preferred not to be named, said she had driven round rather than wait at Ardrossan.

More than 40 people wrote comments about the disruption on the Banner’s Facebook page.

Stevie Flynn wrote: ‘My Ardrossan ticket was honoured but I will be claiming the difference in the two sailings back as well as mileage accommodation and food.’

A CalMac spokesperson said that customers can claim mileage incurred due to the Caledonian Isles breakdown. Customers can claim this by sending in a passenger rights claim form at https://www.calmac.co.uk/on-board/passenger-rights

Commenting on the Banner’s web Donna Young wrote: ‘Yet again both Arran and Islay suffer.

‘It should be noted also that MV Finlaggan has a technical fault and is unable to function properly.

‘When will CalMac have ferries that work.’

MV Caledonian Isles photographed with the bow visor raised by Muriel Crockett. No_B12ferry01