Covid storm batters CalMac services

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A surge in Covid has hit ferry services, causing disruptions and cancellations across CalMac’s network.

The ferry operator has also decided to shut all its on-board shops, coffee cabins, bars and restaurants until further notice due to limited crew resources.

A CalMac spokesperson confirmed there has been several positive Covid-19 cases across its routes and said the impact of the virus on services can ‘change very quickly.’

The Isle of Mull was stuck in dry dock in Aberdeen earlier this week with Covid cases onboard but was not impacting services directly. It has been cleaned and replacement crew is being brought in to be ready for departure.

The Wemyss Bay-Rothesay: MV Coruisk was withdrawn from service until further notice due to a crew member returning a positive Covid result. MV Argyle will operate a single vessel service until further notice.

Because of  crew members awaiting Covid test results, services on the Oban-Craignure route are liable to disruption or cancellation at short notice.

With crew members on the Mallaig-Lochboisdale route returning positive Covid results, all services between those ports have been cancelled. The vessel now needs to be deep cleaned and replacement crew found so an update on further sailings this week will be provided as soon as possible.

Also because of crew members on both MV Clansman and MV Hebridean Isles returning positive Covid results, sailings on the Oban-Colonsay-Port Askaig- Kennacraig route are liable to disruption or cancellation at short notice. Deep cleaning of the vessels has been arranged and attempts to find another crew are being made.

Until further notice because of lack of staff due to Covid, the Mallaig Port Office will now only be open at sailing times.

‘Covid-19 cases are high once again. We’re exercising care and caution. Help protect one another, our crew and the islands we serve by following our safer travel guidance,’ urged CalMac on social media.

Passengers, especially on longer journeys, are being reminded to travel prepared for no food and drink services onboard.

‘We understand the effect this will have on our customers; however, we have taken this decision to allow us to focus our resources on maintaining the service, while prioritising the robust cleaning protocols we have in place, and limiting contact between customers and crew,’ added the CalMac spokesperson.