The Gdansk shipbuilding sector could be the answer to ferry woes in the west of Scotland, said a local politician, suggesting that another boat be built in Gdansk to join the fleet of CalMac vessels.
Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil was speaking as CalMac announced the latest delays in the repair of the Loch Seaforth vessel.
The ferry which runs between Stornoway and Ullapool suffered a major breakdown last month. Initially it was hoped the vessel may be back in service by the beginning of May. Later on, the earliest date for its return was given as May 21 and tonight, this was pushed back again until May 29. Vessels have been moved around the network to cover for the ferry which is out of service, resulting in a knock-on effect with services stretched throughout the isles.
Mr MacNeil said that all possible options need to be investigated to fill the islands’ ferry problems.
Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil: He is suggesting that another boat be built in Gdansk to join the fleet of CalMac vessels.
He said: “The MV Loch Seaforth was built in Germany and launched seven years ago and is currently out of service, having had numerous problems since coming into service.
“The newest boat previous to that, MV Finlaggan, launched 11 years ago, was built in Gdansk in Poland.
“We need to get other boats in play sooner rather than later.
“The CalMac fleet is ageing.
Hull 802, destined for an Outer Hebrides route, is still being built on the slipway. The latest estimated cost for both ships is just short of £200m.
The MV Glen Sannox at Ferguson Marine Engineering in Port Glasgow, 2017. Mr MacNeil believes Poland could be best placed to help with a solution.
“Unfortunately, with the current problems we have we are probably going to need quite a few yards building and therefore it may be time to look to Poland or other ship building nations to provide the vessels we need.