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PLEASE NOTE: the Fleet News pages are no longer updated on a regular basis.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!
 DATE  NEWS
29/03/06 Western Isles:
Lochnevis's call to Muck has been cancelled today due to adverse weather.
 
28/03/06 Western Isles:
Hebridean Isles
was late arriving into Port Ellen this evening due to adverse weather conditions.
 
Clyde:
Strike action did take place today and the following services were affected:
Gourock - Dunoon (Dunoon Pier Staff on Strike)
Wemyss Bay - Rothesay (Rothesay Pier Staff on Strike)
Ships Affected:
Juno, Bute (Tied up at Rothesay)
Saturn (Tied up at Gourock)
As a result no services could take place on either routes all day. The action was out of CalMac's control.

Picture Credit: Billy Murdoch
Saturn strike-bound today

 
27/03/06 Clyde:
Due to Local Authority Industrial Action, CalMac has been advised by Argyll and Bute Council that, if the proposed industrial action takes place from midnight tonight until midnight on Tuesday, Dunoon and Rothesay piers will be affected. Should the industrial action proceed, therefore, CalMac will be unable to provide a service on the Wemyss Bay - Rothesay and Gourock - Dunoon services. All other services will be unaffected.
(check external link above for updates)

Western Isles:
Coruisk
arrived at Port Askaig at around 1830 this evening on her way back up to Mallaig in time for the summer season. She arrived for an overnight berth and will depart at around 0800 tomorrow morning.

Picture Credit: Graham Paterson
Coruisk lying overnight at Islay

 
26/03/06 Clyde:
Coruisk is due to arrive at Port Askaig at 1600 tomorrow after which she will head up to Mallaig on Tuesday.

NorthLink:
There are delays affecting Aberdeen arrivals. Due to adverse weather and tidal conditions at Aberdeen harbour entrance the scheduled arrival of Hjaltland has been delayed until approx 0945. Hjaltland was scheduled to depart at 1700 sailing to Hatston and Lerwick. However the sailing today has been cancelled due to adverse weather conditions
 
25/03/06 Western Isles:
It is reported that Isle of Lewis was delayed by two hours on her first departure of the day from Stornoway. This was due to problems with one of her bow thrust units encountered during the night.

NorthLink:
Hrossey departed Hatston on rostered time and is scheduled to arrive in Aberdeen at 07:00. However, due to adverse weather and tidal conditions at Aberdeen, arrival time may be delayed. Update: Hrossey was unable to berth at Aberdeen due to adverse weather so she continued south to Roysth (North of Edinburgh). A easterly at Aberdeen combined with a low tide would have made it impossible to enter the channel. The entrance channel to Aberdeen is on 5.9 metres at MLWS which is even less than Stromness.
For the same reason the sailing scheduled to depart from Kirkwall (Hatston) to Lerwick tonight has been cancelled.

 
24/03/06 Clyde:
On our arrival at Ardrossan on the 1350 from Brodick, Caledonian Isles berthed at the old Ireland linkspan. The change of berths must have been last minute as the PA announcement for foot passengers was to disembark through the normal channels, it then changed to announce disembarkation via the car deck.

Bute is back running the Rothesay - Wemyss bay service whilst Coruisk has sailed down the Clyde to JWD to undertake a few minor adjustments before heading back up to her Summer roster on the Mallaig - Armadale crossing.

 
23/03/06 Western Isles:
Isle of Arran
arrived in Stornoway this morning just before 1100 this morning. She will berth there to relieve the Muirneag allowing the freight ship to go for her annual overhaul.
 
22/03/06

Hebrides left Liverpool today at c1500, she is due at Uig on Thursday c1500 to change with Clansman.

Western Isles:
Loch Ranza
took up the Tayinloan - Gigha service yesterday, relieving Loch Riddon to sail to Campbeltown. Loch Riddon sailed from Campbeltown to Lochranza to relive the Loch Tarbert. Loch Tarbert is to stay in Lochranza until taking up the summer timetable. Loch Riddon is now on Tarbert - Portavadie / Tarbert - Lochranza service.
the maintenance of  Port Ellen Pier is well under way. They have completed a raised walk way down to the ferry for passengers and fitted a ramp on instead of a step. The work is due to be completed by the 1st of April 2006.

Clyde:

Bute exited the James Watt Dock today after completing her first annual overhaul. During her overhaul her aft mast has been significantly extended to almost match the height of her forward one.

NorthLink:
NorthLink Slumps into Red Despite 21m Subsidy (external link)

Picture Credit:
Loch Bhrusda in JWD today

Picture Credit: SoC Crew
Bute in JWD today

 
20/03/06 Western Isles:
Isle of Mull
berthed at the Railway pier this evening to allow Lord of the Isles to occupy the Linkspan for a early departure to Coll & Tiree tomorrow morning. Lord of the Isles returned from a 1600 sailing ex Oban to Craignure at 1730.

Past Fleet:
Ex CalMac vessel Maid of Cumbrae is confirmed to have arrived for scrapping at Aliaga on the 13/03/06

Picture Credit:
MoC arrived for scrapping

 
19/03/06 Western Isles:
As per yesterdays note. The Port Ellen sailing is diverted to Port Askaig.
Loch Portain
is now back in service on the Sound of Harris roster after completing her annual overhaul.

Clyde:
Loch Ranza
is now berthed at Fairlie pier after completing repairs to one of her Voith Units.
Loch Bhrusda was sighted passing
the Cumbrae's this afternoon on her way to Largs. She later entered JWD for gearbox repairs.

Picture Credit: Conway MacCulloch
Loch Bhrusda passing Cumbrae

 
18/03/06 Western Isles:
Due to essential pier maintenance at Port Ellen, the 1800 sailing tomorrow will be diverting to Port Askaig in favour of Port Ellen. This in effect will mean that the 0415 sailing on Monday 20th March will leave from Port Askaig not Port Ellen.
 
16/03/06 Clyde:
Isle of Cumbrae was noted passing Cloch Point around 1530 this afternoon, possibly heading for Roseneath. She was later confirmed berthed at the wires in Gourock.
 
15/03/06 Western Isles:
Isle of Cumbrae
is due to leave Oban this morning bound for the Clyde. At present, destination unknown.
Hebridean Isles was diverted to Port Askaig this evening rather than Port Ellen on Islay.

Terminals:
The passenger gangway at Port Ellen is undergoing maintenance today, passengers are required to use the stern ramp of the ferry to board / alight.

Clyde:
Loch Portain
was sighted heading out past Millport at 0730 this morning bound for the Western Isles.

Picture Credit: Conway MacCulloch
Loch Portain this morning

 
14/03/06 Western Isles / Clyde:
All routes appear to be back to normal today after the adverse weather over the past few days.
 
Hebridean Isles did an extra sailing this evening due to the amount of cars and commercials built up during the adverse weather recently. She departed Kennacraig at 1800 and arrived in at Port Askaig at 2010.
Bute entered dry-dock today with Western Ferries Sound of Sanday.

Past Fleet:
It is reported that the ex Clyde Passenger / Car ferry Maid of Cumbrae (renamed Capri Express)
has been towed for scrapping after over 50 years afloat. However, on the 12/03/06 while under tow of the tug Saint James from Naples to Aliaga, the vessel she was in tandem with, the Salvatore Lauro sank 10nm SW of Gerolimenas Bay, Peloponnese. There were no injuries or pollution reported.
 

Picture Credit: Andy McConnell
Maid of Cumbrae in happier days

NorthLink:
After the adverse weather over the past few days and the dry-dock timetable in effect, the Northern Isles routes are getting back to normal. There is however a timetable amendment for Aberdeen departures. Hjaltland is scheduled for departure today at 23:45 sailing for Lerwick
 
13/03/06 Continuing with the disruptions today due to adverse weather on the West Coast and Northern Isles...
Western Isles:
Tobermory - Kilchoan: Currently suspended.
Berneray - Leverburgh: All Sailings cancelled today.
Tayinloan - Gigha: Suspended indefinitely.
Fionnphort - Iona: Currently suspended.
Ardmhor - Eriskay: All Sailings cancelled today.

Lochboisdale - Oban: 0730 to Oban via Castlebay has been delayed. Situation will be reviewed at 1200 today.
Mallaig - Small Isles: Weather permitting the timetable for today will be as follows - Mallaig - Rum - Eigg - Muck - Mallaig, with a view of there being an improvement in the weather throughout the day.
Uig - Tarbert - Lochmaddy: The 1600 scheduled sailing Tarbert - Uig cancelled. Weather permitting it is hoped to do the following: 1730 Uig - Tarbert (scheduled 1400 Uig - Tarbert & Scheduled 1800 Uig - Lochmaddy) 1930 Tarbert - Lochmaddy. Weather permitting Clansman will pick up 0730 from Lochmaddy tomorrow as per timetable.
Port Askaig - Kennacraig: The 0415 sailing from Port Askaig has been cancelled, this in effect means that the 0700 sailing from Kennacraig has also been cancelled. Situation to be reviewed at 0900 with a view to sailing as per timetable at 0945 from Port Askaig rather than Port Ellen as per timetable. Update: The 1300 sailing to Port Askaig and the 1530 return sailing have been cancelled.

(check external link above for updates)

Isle of Mull departed Oban as per timetable for Colonsay at 1200. She arrived back in time for her Craignure tip and was back in Oban for 1745.


Clyde:
Tarbert - Lochranza:
the sailing between Tarbert - Lochranza and return from Lochranza have been cancelled.

Loch Portain was sighted undergoing trials on the Clyde around 1245 today after completing her annual overhaul.

Company News:
Gaelic Festival Secures Caledonian MacBrayne Support (external link)

NorthLink:
As per yesterday due to adverse weather and tidal conditions the 0630 sailing from Stromness - Scrabster and the 0845 sailing from Scrabster today have been cancelled. The 1100 sailing from Stromness - Scrabster and the 1315 sailing from Scrabster - Stromness will operate as normal. The 1645 sailing from Stromness to Scrabster will now depart at 16:00 and the 19:00 departure from Scrabster will operate as normal. Update: Hamnavoe departed Scrabster at 13:15 to arrive in Stromness at 14:45.
Also due to severe weather conditions in Aberdeen, the 1900 sailing from Lerwick - Aberdeen on today has been cancelled.
(check external link above for updates)
 
12/03/06 There are several disruptions this morning due to the heavy snow falls that are continuing to sweep the west coast...
Western Isles:
Lochmaddy - Uig: The 1200 sailing ex Lochmaddy and the 1400 ex Uig, have been cancelled.
Tayinloan - Gigha: Service has been cancelled meantime.
Ardmhor - Eriskay: The 0930 sailing ex Ardmhor and the return 1030 ex Eriskay have been cancelled. The last return sailing on this route for today is also in doubt ie 1500 ex Ardmhor and 1600 ex Eriskay. Update: Both have now been cancelled therefore no sailings were carried out today.
Kennacraig - Port Ellen: The 1800 sailing this evening from Kennacraig will be diverting to Port Askaig . The 0415 on Monday morning will depart from Port Askaig not Port Ellen.

(check external link above for updates)
 

Picture Credit: Calum McCulloch
Juno dep Wemyss Bay this morning

Clyde:
Tarbert - Portavadie: Service has been cancelled meantime. Update: No further sailings today.
Tarbert - Lochranza: The 1215 departure from Tarbert to Lochranza has been cancelled.
Intending passengers for Rhubodach - Colintraive are advised to travel as soon as possible today as the service will cease on approach of darkness due to no mains power. Service will resume tomorrow, Monday 13th March at Daylight. Scottish Power have advised power should be restored at 11:00 AM tomorrow 13th March.
(check external link above for updates)

Juno and Coruisk swapped rosters this morning on the Wemyss Bay - Rothesay sailings.
Due to mechanical problems with Saturn the 1720 sailing from Gourock and the 1750 from Dunoon were cancelled.

NorthLink:
There are amended sailings on the Pentland Firth (Scrabster - Stromness) route. Hamnavoe departed Stromness at 0900 to arrive in Scrabster at 1030 this morning. The next sailing is scheduled to depart Scrabster at 1200 to arrive in Stromness at 1330. Due to adverse weather and tidal conditions the 1645 sailing has been amended to sail at 1500 with an estimated time of arrival in Scrabster 1630. The 1900 sailing from Scrabster will now depart Scrabster at 1800 to arrive in Stromness at 1930. The 0630 sailing From Stromness to Scrabster on Monday the 13 March 2006 is cancelled as is the 0845 sailing from Scrabster to Stromness. The 1100 sailing from Stromness to Scrabster is under review.

Cancellations due to adverse weather today:
Lerwick departures: due to severe weather conditions in Aberdeen. The 1900 sailing from Lerwick to Aberdeen on Monday 12th March has been cancelled. The next scheduled sailing is due to leave Lerwick at 1730 on Wednesday 15th March sailing for Kirkwall (Hatston) and Aberdeen.
Kirkwall (Hatston) Departures: The 23:45 sailing from Hatston to Lerwick has been cancelled. The next scheduled sailing is due to leave Hatston on Wednesday 15th at 23:45 sailing for Aberdeen.

Aberdeen Departures:
The 17:00 sailing from Aberdeen to Hatston and Lerwick has been cancelled. The next scheduled sailing is due to leave Aberdeen at 19:00 on Tuesday 14th March sailing for Lerwick.
(check external link above for updates)

Hrossey arrived in Lerwick at 0730 this morning and departed at 0830 sailing for Drydock and her annual overhaul.
 
10/03/06 Clyde:
At 0920 this morning Saturn relieved Juno on the Gourock - Dunoon route. Juno promptly headed down river to release Bute from the Wemyss Bay - Rothesay roster. Bute then headed to Gourock and awaited Saturn to depart from HQ with the 1220 to Dunoon. After exchanging blasts Saturn made her way past Bute and onwards to Dunoon. Bute then began her berthing procedure at Gourock which included her opening her bow visor to load a forklift truck with various parts on it's forks including what looked like hydraulic cylinders. SPT vessel Kenilworth was patiently canting in the bay waiting for Bute to move off and away to JWD for her annual overhaul, her first for herself and the company.

Picture Credit: Gavin Stewart
Saturn and Bute today

 
09/03/06 Isle of Arran arrived at Aberdeen fro Dry Docking today. She sailed from Tobermory to the east cast port for her annual overhaul.

CalMac Company News:
Today CalMac was named as preferred bidder for Northern Isles ferry contract that NorthLink currently provide. More Information in our Special News Feature.

NorthLink:
An emergency fire and evacuation exercise is to take place on Hjaltland at Aberdeen Harbour on Friday 10/03/06. The exercise will involve a simulated engine room fire.
More From NorthLink Here. (external link)
 
08/03/06 Clyde:
Juno
will be going to Rothesay on Friday to start her Summer roster. She is currently getting her gangway platform put on to allow her to link up with the new linkspans fitted for the Bute & Coruisk.
 
07/03/06 Clyde:
Bute
and Coruisk appear to be back on there normal rosters on the Wemyss Bay - Rothesay route this morning after Bute's breakdown on Sunday.
 
06/03/06 Clyde:
As a result of Bute's breakdown yesterday she and Coruisk were on the 'wrong' rosters today on the Wemyss Bay - Rothesay route.
 
05/03/06 Hebrides has arrived on the Mersey and has entered the wet basin of the Birkenhead Ship Repair Company on the afternoon tide.

Western Isles:
Lord of the Isles was involved in a rescue of a fishing boat grounded in the entrance to Castlebay this evening. The Barra lifeboat requested she stood-by to assist if necessary, however she was not required and berthed at the linkspan later.

Clyde:

Loch Portain is currently dry-docked and well underway with her annual overhaul in Garvel Dry Dock.
Bute broke down on the Wemyss Bay - Rothesay route at 1630. Coruisk abandoned her own roster and took over that of the Bute so that the last timetabled sailings in both directions could be maintained. Also, as of the news yesterday, the regulations on Bute (passengers staying in vehicles while on passage) are also being applied on Coruisk.

Picture Credit: John Huggins
Loch Portain today

 
03/03/06 Western Isles:
Clansman
was spotted heading out past Greenock this lunchtime, having had her brief overhaul completed. She left Gourock at 1515 bound for Lochmaddy where she is next due to relieve the Hebrides on her routes in the Western Isles.
Update: Hebrides was spotted passing Port Askaig at 2015 heading south for her overhaul.

Clyde:
Loch Portain
made her way up from Fairlie and entered Garvel Dry Dock for the start of her annual overhaul. Loch Tarbert was delayed on her Tarbert - Lochranza return sailing and as a result the 1515 from Tarbert to Portavadie and return were cancelled. The timetable resumed with the 1615 from Tarbert.

CalMac Press Release:
Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne has confirmed that the Red Funnel Group has been successful in tendering for the provision of peak time passenger only services on the Gourock - Dunoon service. The service is currently provided by Red Funnel’s Alicat. The extension of their existing contract will begin on April 3, 2006 and run for 12 months. CalMac has confirmed that six companies expressed an interest in providing the passenger only aspect of the route at key times. Three of the six companies did not pursue their interests and an invitation to tender was issued to three companies: Red Funnel, Western Ferries and Clyde Marine Services Ltd on January 17. Technical and commercial factors were taken into account into the assessment of the bids finally submitted, including factors such as price, company background and financial viability; operator experience, vessel suitability and availability, crewing arrangements and acceptance of contract terms. CalMac’s Operations Director Phil Preston said: “The tender received from Red Funnel best met the requirements for the service and is accepted on operational grounds. MV Alicat has proven to be reliable on this service and can meet the timetable as required. The contract will be let for 12 months and is renewable thereafter by agreement. The contract also allows for termination in the event that CalMac ceases to operate the Gourock to Dunoon service.”

CalMac Passenger Information:
Wemyss Bay-Rothesay
It is a legal requirement that passengers must vacate their vehicles whilst on passage on Bute. It is a marine safety requirement on a vessel of this size on this crossing (ie it is not optional). Only passengers with a special dispensation such as ambulance bound patients, with the approval of the crew, can stay in vehicles. Recently this has become a problem to the extent that the integrity of the service is being compromised. Some customers are not willing to take the crew’s advice on this matter and have, on occasion, refused to vacate their vehicles. In these circumstances Masters have the authority to return to the port of departure when a customer refuses to vacate their vehicle when requested. Caledonian MacBrayne has made strenuous efforts to reduce the impact of this restriction and, with approval from the Marine and Coastguard Agency has managed to achieve certain relaxations. Abuse of these arrangements could result in the regulations being more rigidly enforced by the Marine and Coastguard Agency. Please also be advised, where customers refuse to co-operate with the crew or obstruct crew members in the course of their duty, the company will have no option but to involve the police.  This action will also apply to any passenger who is smoking on the car deck or displays inappropriate behaviour, including having consumed excess alcohol.
 
02/03/06 Clyde:
Loch Ranza
was reported to be on her way back to Gigha yesterday when an oil leak was spotted coming from her newly refitted Voith unit. She immediately made back for the Clyde and the Timbercraft yard at Shandon in the Gairloch for further repairs as the slips at Ardmaleish were occupied. Loch Riddon and Loch Tarbert continue on relief duties at Gigha and Loch Fyne respectively.
Loch Portain arrived on the Clyde from the Sound of Harris and berthed at Fairlie until it becomes her turn to take her place in the Garvel Dry Dock. Loch Bhrusda is currently keeping the Sound of Harris route open.

Picture Credit: Graeme Phanco
Loch Ranza making for Shandon for further repairs

 
01/03/06 Western Isles:
Loch Portain
was spotted passing through the Sound of Iona at around 1700 this evening, bound for an overnight berth at Islay.
Due to tidal restrictions over the past two days on the Sound of Harris (Leverburgh - Berneray) roster, the 1110ex Berneray + 1220ex Leverburgh have been cancelled. There will be extra sailings today at 0945ex Berneray + 1050ex Leverburgh.
Advanced notice of changes on the Sound of Barra (Ardmhor - Eriskay) roster: Again due to tidal restrictions the following changes will take place on Thursday 02/03/06:
Dep Ardmhor 1115 (Instead of 1230)
Dep Eriskay 1230 (Instead of 1410)

Clyde:
Clansman left Garvel Dry-dock (if only for a split second) at roughly 13:45 today and did a 180 degree spin to go stern-in at James Watt Dock.

NorthLink:

There are cancellations
due to adverse weather and tidal conditions affecting the Pentland Firth Route this morning. Hamnavoe departed Stromness at 0915 to arrive in Scrabster at 1045. The next scheduled sailing is expected to depart Scrabster at 1115 to arrive in Stromness at 1300.
Also due to the adverse weather there are delays affecting Lerwick Arrivals. As a result the Hjaltland is due to arrive in Lerwick at 1330 and depart at 1730 sailing direct to Aberdeen.
(check external link above for updates)

Update:
Hamnavoe departed Stromness at 1645 to arrive in Scrabster at 1815. The next sailing is scheduled to depart Scrabster at 1900 to arrive in Stromness at 2030 this eveing.
Hjaltland
arrived in Lerwick at 1330 and departed at 1720 sailing for Kirkwall (Hatston) and Aberdeen. Her expected time of arrival in Kirkwall (Hatston) is 2300 this evening with a expected time of arrival in Aberdeen is 07:00 tomorrow morning.
 
News Logs:
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