Scottish Daily Mail
Breakdown? Our ferry’s still being tested say CalMac
THE owner of a new ‘super ferry’ that could not sail as planned on Thursday has claimed it did not suffer a ‘breakdown’ – merely a ‘mechanical issue’.
The £42million MV Loch Seaforth was said to be so technically advanced it could operate in all weathers, but was left stranded in Ullapool, Ross-shire – forcing ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne to press the ageing MV Isle of Lewis back into service.
Passengers should have sailed on the two hour, 45 minute voyage at 5.30pm – but did not arrive in Stornoway on Lewis until 2am.
Yesterday, CalMac claimed it was effectively still testing the ship and that it had not broken down. A spokesman said: ‘The MV Loch Seaforth is still going through a commissioning phase and is not in full service. This period is being used to put the ship through her paces and iron out any teething problems which may arise.
‘The MV Isle of Lewis has been retained to provide cover in the event that these teething issues require her to be withdrawn from the route. An issue arose with an engine room ventilation fan which required attention and an operational decision was taken to remove her from the route while it was fixed and the MV Isle of Lewis was deployed to maintain the service.
‘While passengers were delayed, and we regret any inconvenience to them, no one was “stranded”. This was not a major issue but it required around five hours of work as the fan was in a difficult-to-reach location. Repairs were concluded by 11pm and she sailed from Ullapool about an hour later.
‘We would not consider this to be a breakdown as it was an operational decision not to sail, rather than one forced upon us by a mechanical issue which prevented her sailing.’