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PLEASE NOTE: the Fleet News pages are no longer updated on a regular basis. For news updates as movements happen, go to the SoC Forum where news is reported very frequently - you can even report it yourself!
31/01/04 In about 2 weeks the Clansman is due in Garvel Dry Dock along with the Loch Fyne. The Coruisk will exit the dock, just before the arrival of Clansman.
28/01/04 Northlink News: M.V. Hjaltland arrived in Aberdeen at 07:00. Due to Adverse weather conditions the 19:00 departure for Wednesday 28th is expected now to depart at 0600 hrs on Thursday 29th. M.V. Hamnavoe departed Stromness at 09:00 and is expected to arrive in Scrabster at 11:15. The next scheduled sailing is the 12:00 departure from Scrabster to arrive in Stromness at 13:30.Adverse weather and tidal conditions may affect the above times.
27/01/04 Caledonian MacBrayne has confirmed that a limited passenger only service will operate during the closure of Tarbert linkspan at the beginning of March. It had been thought that Tarbert pier would have to close completely for a week while essential replacement work on the linkspan’s suspension ropes is carried out. More Here...
26/01/04 Coruisk's new passenger gangway arrived yesterday at Rothesay, a similar one will be delivers to Wemyss Bay later.
Lord of the Isles left Oban at 09:10 yesterday and arrived at Aberdeen today, around 11.20am for her annual overhaul.
The Clansman returned to Oban at 1045 on Sunday 25th and took up the Barra/ Lochboisdale service at 1200.
25/01/04 Northlink News: It is confirmed that Hebridean Isles is due to cover for the Pentland Firth Vessel Hamnavoe for her annual overhaul, as to when is still unclear, although it should be soon. NorthLink Ferries will operate a revised timetable between Saturday, February 7 and Sunday, February 29 during which time its passenger ferries MV Hamnavoe, MV Hrossey and MV Hjaltland will each go into dry dock for up to eight days.
24/01/04 Coruisk is back at Ferguson's again. She is tied up to the fitting out pier at the yard. One of the Streakers has taken over on the Dunoon run.
24/01/04 Caledonian Isles is due back on station at Arran today, she was still in the JW dock last night. They were doing a series of light tests, at one point most of all the lights went out, and came back on again. The Barra run does not leave until midday tomorrow, so it gives plenty of time for Clansman to get there.
Update 15:47: Caledonian Isles is sailing down the main channel opposite Wemyss Bay pier towards Ardrossan.
23/01/04 Lord of the Isles will make her second visit to Aberdeen for annual overhaul. She will leave Oban on Saturday night, then spend overnight at Craignure then depart 11.00 Sunday morning E T A Aberdeen 08.00 Monday.
22/01/04 Caledonian MacBrayne has confirmed that its Board has recommended that a new vessel should be constructed for the Kennacraig to Islay route and that a two vessel option should be available for the summer timetable. The ports of Port Ellen and Kennacraig should also be upgraded. More on Calmac's Official Site Here.
20/01/04 Pentland Ferries Limited the new owners of the ex Calmac vessel 'Claymore' are delighted to announce that they have just received their Class 2A Passenger Licence which will enable the company to carry 70 passengers per sailing on her throughout the Winter Period. The 1978 built Claymore has changed hands a few times since her departure from Calmac in 1996 finally ending up in the north of Scotland with her current owners awaiting a passenger certificate to enter service with another ex fleet mate from Calmac the 'Iona' Renamed Pentalina~B.
19/01/04 Caledonian Isles and Jupiter had just moved from the drydock ending there annual overhauls.
15/01/04 The troubled new vessel Coruisk is operating the Gourock - Dunoon service and now seems able to keep to the published time table since going back into service, following her last visit to Ferguson's. The operating problems seem to have been overcome which is good for all concerned. She is noted to start service at Rothesay in February if all goes to plan...
14/01/04 Caledonian MacBrayne held a public meeting today regarding the new Lower Clyde replacement vessel. A SoC member went along: "The meeting was very interesting, first of all I would like to thank CAL MAC for taking the time to listen to the us. the ship looks really good, and there are a lot of plans for the future of the service, including a possible second vessel to replace the other streaker, and a possible new linkspan. it is the same length as the streakers, a bit wider and the same depth. with a speed of 13/24 knots, will make the crossing in 30 mins, and a turnaround time of 15 mins. with also another plan for a new gangway to suit her higher passenger deck, varying with the tide of course. the inside resembles the Coruisk, which is good because the inside of the Coruisk is superb. she has an open end, with also an open after deck, which is covered over for passenger to sit outside, but not get wet. she has twin funnels, and a visor for future drive through service. also on the upper deck she has seats, and a walk round to the front of the ship. and a couple of decks above is the fully enclosed bridge, resembling the Hebrides. I personally think she is very similar to the claymore, well anyway that's what I thought when I saw it for the first time." I had a slight inkling that that’s what she would look like based on the SIC new vessels that operate on similar slightly open waters. I much prefer this design, why change something that works perfectly well?! Well done Calmac, I whish this new vessel all the success of her predecessors. As to her name, we don't yet know but I would hazard a guess that it will either be a continuation of the planets or it may continue in the lines of the Loch______ class (i.e. Lochnevis). My guess would be on the latter. More News on her as it comes in.
12/01/04 Isle of Cumbrae seems to have gone to Timbercraft for overhaul, Loch Dunvegan is now back, her ramps seem to be ok and her car deck seems to of been painted.
11/01/04 Saturn today made a strange direction change in the shape of  a U Turn, she was heading to Wemyss Bay from Rothesay when she suddenly changed her course to Dunoon. She was later seen heading from Gourock to Wemyss bay and then back to her normal route, reason unknown as yet.

The Clansman was due at Gourock at 18.20 but she was only spotted as she passed Wemyss Bay at 1800 hrs
09/01/04 Both Jupiter and Caledonian Isles are in JW dry dock at Gourock for annual overhaul.
06/01/04 Loch Dunvegan is getting tucked up for the night, they seem to have put a protective polythene over the bow ramp, the damage could be  hydraulic, a hinge problem or cracking of her ramps themselves, she has had that problem before.
06/01/04 Isle of Cumbrae is presumably covering for the Loch Dunvegan which went for emergency ramp repairs yesterday.
05/01/04 Loch Dunvegan is sailing up the Clyde right now, just came down from the Kyles, bound for JWD for Ramp repairs.

Caledonian Isles arrived at JWD today at 10:00 hrs. She went straight into the dry-dock behind Jupiter. Clansman is covering for her on the Ardrossan - Brodick route.

The Coruisk was in service today on the Gourock - Dunoon run
04/01/04 NEWS FLASH!: MV PIONEER has had her radio and radar gear taken off her, wheelhouse has been boarded up - it seems she is now a dead ship and unlikely to sail again, not on the Clyde anyway.
  Coruisk appeared at Gourock pier possible to do the historic 1220 run but was gone at 12:05.
  It was this date 50 years ago that the ARRAN was first introduced on the Gourock to Dunoon service, the first of a new age of car ferries. On the 40th anniversary in 1994, Calmac offered special discounted fares to mark the occasion as they also did a couple of years ago at Colintraive. Calmac may offer a similar event to mark the 50th anniversary.

From Ian McCrorie: 

At 1210 on 4 January 1954 the first car ferry sailed on the Clyde – between Gourock and Dunoon.

Following the derationing of petrol in 1950 car ownership had boomed and the days of loading vehicles over planks only at suitable states of the tide were surely numbered.

The motor vessel Arran, fuelled by diesel rather than coal, had been launched from Denny’s shipyard in Dumbarton late in 1953 and by the turn of the year was lying at Gourock waiting to enter service. Aft of her passenger accommodation was an electrical hoist connected to side ramps which allowed cars to be embarked and disembarked in all tidal conditions. The hoist, equipped with a turntable, could lower five cars at a time down to a spacious garage at main deck level.

The steamer on the Dunoon ferry crossing at the time was none other than the Waverley, the five-year-old paddle steamer which is still gracing the waters of the Clyde half a century on. She arrived back at Gourock at noon that day and tied up. From the head of the pier the Arran inaugurated the new service with 12 cars aboard. Pier dues were suspended at Dunoon and a sizeable proportion of the town’s population were there to greet the new vessel as she arrived on her maiden voyage. The car ferry revolution had begun.

02/01/04 The southerly storm which hit the west coast on Hogmanay climaxed in the Minch in the early afternoon where it was reckoned to be Force 10 gusting to Force 11. Despite the great desire to get passengers home for the New Year there were widespread cancellations in the interests of safety. Whereas on the Clyde the gale did not blow out there was a lull in the north and Isle of Lewis and Hebrides eventually made Stornoway and Lochmaddy & Tarbert respectively. Almost every vessel was affected, although Hebridean Isles appears to have continued sailing to Islay. Caledonian Isles was originally going to sail at 1640 ex Brodick for Gourock but even that diverted sailing had to be cancelled. Cumbrae and Bute, both from Wemyss Bay and Colintraive, were cut off from around 1600 and Dunoon from 1520, although Western Ferries were able to continue to the more sheltered terminal of Hunter's Quay. LOTI had to put back to Oban in the morning as she was unable to approach either Coll or Tiree. That is why Clansman, which had come in from Lochboisdale, was noted as being absent from Oban on New Year's Day. She left at 0815 for Craignure, Coll and Tiree, returning direct. Other vessels known to have been in action for an emergency special run on 1 January were Loch Dunvegan (Kyles of Bute), Loch Fyne (Fishnish) and Loch Buie (Iona). Ironically the one vessel with a scheduled service had to cancel - Canna was stormbound at Rathlin.

Later Addition: Loch Alainn was able to resume service from Largs at about 1815 on 31 December with approx 60 cars at Largs
Other News Logs:
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