Calls for ferry compensation for island communities

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Communities impacted by ferry cancellations as a result of technical issues should be compensated, according to Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan.

On Tuesday, CalMac announced the MV Hebrides would again have to be withdrawn from serving Tarbert, Lochmaddy and Uig due to another issue with its firefighting system.

Sailings for Tuesday, Wednesday and today (Thursday) on these routes have been cancelled.

The MV Hebrides only returned to service on last Friday, July 29, after repairs to her firefighting system.

Mr Allan said: ‘This is the height of the tourist season. For communities in Harris and Uist to be facing this level of disruption right now is inexcusable.

Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan.
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‘I have been inundated with messages from islanders who are, quite frankly, fed up. It’s not good enough for people trying to go about their day-to-day lives and it’s having a real impact on local businesses.

‘I have asked the Scottish Government to implement a compensation scheme which would use the financial penalties it receives for service loss, due to technical failures, redeployment or other avoidable cancellation across the CalMac network.

‘These funds, totalling around £3.5m for cancellations since 2021, should be diverted to island businesses in the form of a compensation for losses incurred.

‘The only way to properly address these issues in the long term is to get more ships into CalMac’s fleet. There are more vessels in the pipeline, but in the here and now the reliability of the service desperately needs to improve.’

CAPTION:

The MV Hebrides on the coastline around Mull. MV-Hebrides-1.jpg

 

Extra pic:

Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan.

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