Ministers are accused of “nothing short of disastrous” management of CalMac after the Scottish Conservatives revealed more than 70,000 sailings had been delayed or cancelled over ten years.
However, the west coast ferry operator said there was “absolutely no pattern to suggest things are getting progressively worse”.
Figures from a freedom of information request showed sailings were delayed 34,124 times and cancelled 39,314 times from 2007-8 to 2017-18.
CalMac said 2.7 per cent of sailings were cancelled, – 2.1 per cent because of bad weather and 0.4 per cent for technical problems. A total of 5 per cent of sailings were delayed.
Publication of the figures was timed to coincide with a Conservatives-led debate on Scotland’s ferries at Holyrood. They want “failings remedied and public confidence restored”.
Scottish Conservative Transport Spokesman Jamie Greene said: “SNP management of the ferries has been nothing short of disastrous.
“This astonishing level of delay and cancellation must be extremely inconvenient to local residents and tourists and highlights the poor service that many islanders are receiving as a result of sustained underinvestment in our port and ferry infrastructure under the SNP.
“CalMac has admitted there is very little resilience within the fleet nor does there appear to be any long term planning.
“As things stand the situation is nearing crisis point during the summer season and ultimately island communities will be let down when things go wrong.
“The SNP clearly has absolutely no handle on this situation and must explain themselves to the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish people.”