Scottish Daily Mail

Fish lorries barred from CalMac ferry over bacteria fears

- By Mike Merritt

CALMAC has ‘banned’ fish hauliers from using a ferry during the day amid health and safety concerns for other passengers.

The operator said it was concerned leaking crates of salmon transporte­d to mainland Scotland were creating a bacteria risk.

Tests have shown the potentiall­y harmful bacteria found in effluent dripping from the trucks has been trailed to passenger decks from car ports.

Bosses have told haulage firms they must use the over

‘Free up more space’

night service from Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis, to Ullapool, on the mainland, instead.

But firms claim their ferry service is being singled out to give more room to passengers. One haulage boss has also claimed the tests were six years old and that CalMac had so far ignored all possible solutions.

A spokesman for one haulage firm, D R Macleod, said: ‘We are CalMac’s biggest single customer on the network providing business worth millions to them. CalMac recently decided they were going to ban the transport of fish on the daytime sailing to Ullapool. The reasons are supposedly based on health and safety grounds, which does not really stand up to scrutiny as they do not have an issue with the fish travelling on night-time sailings, and they allow the transport of fish on their daytime sailings on other routes.

‘However, we believe their main reason is to free up more space for tourists on the sailing. It seems suspicious how they bring this up in the summer months as tourist season is coming up and they did not bring it up over the winter or over previous years when it was quiet due to Covid.

‘The timely shipping of this cargo is vitally important to our economy and it is extremely time sensitive.

‘If CalMac continue to put up road blocks in the way of what is a major industry on our island, then we run the risk of losing these companies from the island entirely, and subsequent­ly a significan­t amount of employment locally, which would be devastatin­g to our economy and population.’

Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil said: ‘CalMac should be applying the same standards with all their routes. Firstly and foremost they should be there for island businesses and the community and in this case, they don’t seem to be.’

Robbie Drummond, managing director of CalMac, said: ‘Everyone at CalMac recognises the vital role we play in supporting the local economy and we continuall­y work hard to maintain good working relationsh­ips with businesses which rely on us.’

 ?? ?? Island crossing: Salmon shipments are causing concern
Island crossing: Salmon shipments are causing concern

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