Caledonian MacBrayne has ruled out a suggestion that they employ more crew to staff the overnight freight ferry, which would in turn allow them to take more passengers on that service.

Following a report on, one reader asked: “How about hiring extra staff for the night shift freight sailing then they could take more cars and passengers?

“I think at the moment it's a skeleton staff so no facilities to take many passengers.”

When we put that suggestion to CalMac, a spokesman said it was untenable, but not for staffing reasons.

He commented: “The issue is not availability of crew; rather it is that the overnight sailings are routinely used to carry dangerous goods (fuel, chemicals etc) that cannot be carried on daytime passenger sailings due to strict safety regulations.  

”If we were to reduce the amount of dangerous goods carried to permit more passengers it would have detrimental effect on the islands.”

He added: “We (CalMac) have agreed as a one-off to help clear Heb Celt Festival traffic this weekend to run a later service with the Loch Seaforth but that required hauliers agreeing not to carry dangerous goods on that sailing.

“It is not sustainable to do this regularly for the reasons above.”

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