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CalMac ferry breakdowns increase by over a third in a year

Calmac ferry - Image credit: dun deagh via Flickr

CalMac ferry breakdowns increase by over a third in a year

CalMac breakdowns increased by over a third in 2019, according to figures obtained under freedom of information by Scottish Greens transport spokesperson John Finnie.

There were 1,069 cancellations of CalMac sailings because of technical failures last year compared to 780 in 2018, an increase of 289 or 37 per cent.

In light of the figures, Highlands and Islands MSP Finnie called for the Scottish Government to “urgently review” its vessel deployment and replacement plan.

John Finnie MSP said: “CalMac is entrusted to deliver lifeline services to remote and island communities up and down the west coast, so it is particularly concerning that the number of cancellations as a result of technical breakdowns has greatly increased in the last year.

“Behind these cancellations are people unable to attend hospital appointments on the mainland, missed job interviews, small businesses unable to send and receive goods, and a loss of important tourism revenue. 

“We know that the bulk of the fleet needs renewed.

“The average age of the CalMac fleet is 23 years, and the Scottish Government’s own ferry plan for 2013-2022 highlighted that the majority of the vessels needed to be replaced.

“This hasn’t happened and we’re left with the situation where we have an ageing fleet which requires longer periods of maintenance and repair.

“The Cabinet Secretary for Transport must urgently review the vessels deployment and replacement plan, ensuring community representatives and trade unions are at the heart of the procurement process, in order to deliver a fleet that communities served by the Clyde and Hebrides services deserve.”

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