MV Hebrides collision: Calmac pull ferry from service after it crashed into Lochmaddy pier

A CalMac ferry that collided with the pier on a Hebridean island has been taken out of service, sparking a series of scheduled sailings to be cancelled.

In a statement released by the ferry operator, CalMac acknowledged MV Hebrides “making contact” with Lochmaddy Pier on North Uist on Wednesday night. The operator said the ferry would be pulled from service while engineers assessed the damage.

As a result, all sailings on the Tarbert, Uig and Lochmaddy routes have had to be cancelled.

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Services had already been disrupted after the MV Lord of the Isles, which operates between Mallaig and Lochboisdale, was withdrawn for repairs earlier this week.

Calmac said the MV Hebrides underwent a temporary repair on Thursday to allow her to travel to James Watt Dock in Greenock, which has specialist welding facilities, for permanent repair. A timescale for the vessel’s return to service has yet to be confirmed.

The MV Isle of Arran ferry will be redeployed from the Ardrossan-Brodick-Campbeltown route to cover the Kennacraig-Islay service to protect lifeline services. The MV Hebridean Isles vessel has moved from Islay to cover the Skye Triangle. MV Loch Bhrusda will operate additional sailings on Barra-Eriskay.

The operator says MV Caledonian Isles sailings will continue to operate as scheduled, and MV Loch Linnhe will act as a second vessel on the Lochranza/Claonaig route to support services to and from Arran.

A spokeswoman for CalMac said: “This is a significant disruption for our communities, and we sincerely apologise for this at what is already a very difficult time for them with the loss of MV Lord of the Isles.

The MV Hebrides has been taken out of service.The MV Hebrides has been taken out of service.
The MV Hebrides has been taken out of service.

"Our immediate priority is to ensure lifeline services such as food supplies and urgent medical care can be transported.

“Removing vessels from routes is always a very difficult decision and one we would rather not make, but our options are extremely limited, and this is the only way to protect lifeline services at short notice. This redeployment means that all islands will continue to receive a service during this current disruption.

“We are keeping customers informed and will provide another update as soon as a full assessment of the required repairs has been completed in Greenock.”

MV Lord of the Isles is expected to be back in service on the Mallaig-Lochboisdale route next week.

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