News that securing a second vessel on the Stornoway – Ullapool remains a 'priority' for the Scottish Government has been welcomed.
The Stornoway-Ullapool route has been served by the £42 million MV Loch Seaforth since 2015 when she replaced the MV Isle of Lewis, which now serves as the dedicated vessel between Barra and Oban.
Alasdair Allan, MSP for the Western Isles, commented: “The MV Loch Seaforth has represented an improvement in capacity and reliability – which would not have been the case with two smaller ferries – but it is clear to see she is now at capacity in the busy summer months. In many ways we have become victims of our own success, with record numbers of tourists enjoying our island hospitality in the summer thanks to RET.
“With Calmac now advising foot passengers to book online we clearly need to be looking at securing an additional vessel to the Loch Seaforth. There are ongoing problems with people finding the ferry is full if they look online but informed there are still spaces if they phone. This is clearly an issue and I have written to Calmac to take up these concerns.
“The Transport Minister has been attempting to find a vessel but has so far been unsuccessful in finding a suitable one in the open market. This underlines the importance of investment in new vessels and the record levels of funding going in to ferry services. The Scottish Government has demonstrated its commitment in this regard with the construction of the new £97 million dual-fuel ferries currently underway at Ferguson’s shipyard in Port Glasgow, with one designed specifically for the Uig Triangle.”