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PLEASE NOTE: the Fleet News pages are no longer updated on a regular basis.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
28/09/06 CalMac have today announced that the new Cumbrae ferry will be named MV Loch Shira. She will carry 24 cars and up to 250 passengers and is expected to be launched at Ferguson's, Port Glasgow in November 2006.

Poor weather conditions have meant that Lochnevis delayed her departure from Mallaig until 1200. She will make only ony call at Eigg and no call at Muck this time.
Caledonian Isles spent last night at Brodick before performing a positioning run this morning. She was observed leaving Ardrossan about 35 minutes late at 0735 and appeared not to have used the passenger gangway during loading.

 
27/09/06 Loch Riddon is reported to be en route for Raasay to relieve Loch Striven while she in turn moves for her overhaul.
Lord of the Isles
was unable to call at Colonsay due to poor weather conditions on either leg of her Colonsay and Islay sailings today. The next sailing will depart Oban at 0900 tomorrow. Hebridean Isles had to divert her Port Ellen sailings to Port Askaig as well because of high winds making Port Ellen difficult to get into. Isle of Arran also sought refuge at Port Askaig instead of staying at Kennacraig as it is more sheltered.
Loch Tarbert was stormbound at Lochranza during the latter part of today - sailings being cancelled due to poor weather.
 
26/09/06 After 33 years of service, the end has finally come for the oldest member of the fleet; Bruernish. Having spent most of this year idle at Oban she has finally been sold for further service on the west coast of Ireland and has followed in the footsteps of Kilbrannan, Morvern, Rhum and Coll. She departed Oban today for the last time as she made her way south to her new career. We wish the little workhorse all the best!
 
25/09/06 Western Isles:
Isle of Arran left Port Ellen tonight at 1800 for the last time this summer. Her duties now will consist of overhaul coverage for her other fleet mates during the winter.

Picture: Elliott Bowman, SoC Crew
Isle of Arran leaving Port Ellen
 

 
23/09/06 Clyde:
Canna has now moved to the Wires (Gourock) en route back to Rathlin Island. She has just had her overhaul at Corpach.

MV Argyle - Update...
Following the completion and fitting out of the vessel, it is expected that trials will be run by the end of November and the vessel will be delivered to the Company in the middle of December. The date for naming the vessel is still to be arranged but it is CalMac’s intention to carry out the naming ceremony in the vessel’s home port, Rothesay.
 
21/09/06 Western Isles & Clyde:
All routes appear to be back to normal today after yesterdays weather related cancellations.
 
20/09/06 Western Isles:
Due to the adverse weather the following sailings were disrupted today:

Kennacraig - Islay:
1800 ex Kennacraig this evening will be diverting to Port Askaig.
The 0700 sailing tomorrow (Thursday 21st) will now be leaving from Port Askaig not Port Ellen.

Tarbert - Portavadie:
1815 ex Tarbert and 1845 ex Portavadie: Cancelled
The next sailing on this service will be tomorrow (Thursday 21st) departing Tarbert at 0800 weather permitting.

Mallaig - Small Isles:
Lochnevis departed Canna earlier than the scheduled time (1330 instead of 1435).
The second call at the Isle of Rum has also been cancelled.
All vehicle and passenger traffic was shipped from the first call at Rum. ETA at Mallaig 1530.

(check external link above for updates)
 

  Clyde:
Due to the adverse weather the following sailings were disrupted today:

Wemyss Bay - Rothesay:

Service running 30min late early this afternoon due to heavy swell.
Both Bute & Juno are taking a longer route to the south to avoid having the swell side on for a long period.
As a result later sailings are unfortunately becoming later as the evening progresses.

Claonaig - Lochranza:

There will be no further sailings on this service today.

Picture: SoC Crew
Onboard a stormy Juno today

 
Ardrossan - Brodick:
Caledonian Isles
sailed from Brodick at 0820 this morning for Ardrossan.
Update:
1105 ex Brodick is being diverted to Gourock.
Update:
The delayed 1640 ex Brodick is diverted to Gourock.
There will be a bus leaving Ardrossan for Gourock. Passengers are advised to be at Gourock for 1830. Caledonian Isles will return to Brodick and berth overnight tonight.
The 0700 departure from Ardrossan tomorrow morning (Thursday 20th) has been cancelled.
The first sailing tomorrow will be the 0820 from Brodick (weather permitting).

Picture: Conway MacCulloch (Clydesite)
Caledonian Isles making
for Gourock 1815 tonight

 
Largs - Cumbrae:
Loch Alainn
only missed about two runs today around low water time. It is possible that the reason is not because of the lack of water as there was no great ebb, but its when there is a lot of under current her prop unit kicks up a lot of stones which are thrown up and may cause some damage.
Loch Riddon
has possibly taken refuge at Fairlie out of the weather.
Update:

Services has now been suspended for the day.

(check external link above for updates)

Northlink:
As of 1900 no NorthLink Routes have been affected by the weather.

(check external link above for updates)

Company News:

Caledonian MacBrayne Clarifies Restructuring Plans

Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne has announced that, in preparation for its tendering exercise which began with the Invitation to Tender (ITT) for the Gourock – Dunoon service, it is to restructure from 1 October 2006.

Managing Director, Lawrie Sinclair said: “To enable the existing Caledonian MacBrayne business to participate in that tender process it is a requirement that there be a clear legal separation between, on the one hand, the company that owns the vessels and ports and, on the other hand, the company that actually operates the ferry services. At the present time Caledonian MacBrayne Limited both owns the vessels and the ports and runs the ferry service.

“To achieve this end a reorganisation of the Company structure is necessary. A new company, CalMac Ferries Limited, has been set up. Like Caledonian MacBrayne Limited, CalMac Ferries Limited is ultimately owned by the Scottish Ministers.

“With effect from 1 October 2006 the business of running the Clyde and Hebrides ferry services will be transferred to CalMac Ferries Limited. The ownership of the vessels and ports will remain with Caledonian MacBrayne Limited. All employees of Caledonian MacBrayne Limited, with a few limited exceptions, will transfer their employment to CalMac Ferries Limited with effect from 1 October 2006. The transfer will have no impact upon employees’ terms and conditions. Apart from the change of Company it will be business as usual.”

Operations Director Phil Preston said: “This move follows a restructure earlier this year when seafaring staff transferred to an off-shore crewing company, Caledonian MacBrayne Crewing (Guernsey) Limited. The entire restructuring process has been planned to provide a seamless transition and to ensure continuity of service to all CalMac’s customers.”
 
19/09/06 Western Isles:
Mallaig - Small Isles

Due to adverse weather, both calls at Muck have been cancelled for today.
Lochnevis is currently on route to Eigg and then will be returning to Mallaig ETA 1400

Kennacraig - Islay
Due to the pending forecast the 1800 sailing this evening from Kennacraig will be diverting to Port Askaig instead of Port Ellen . The 0945 tomorrow (Wednesday 20th) will now be departing from Port Askaig not Port Ellen.

Clyde:
Ardrossan - Brodick
Due to an adverse weather forecast Caledonian Isles will make an unscheduled sailing from Ardrossan this evening.
As a result the 0700 sailing from Ardrossan tomorrow morning has been cancelled.
(check external link above for updates)
 
18/09/06 Clyde:
Due to adverse weather earlier this afternoon the Lochranza - Claonaig service was disrupted. The service will resume with the 1825 sailing ex Lochranza.
 
15/09/06 Clyde:
The following is from a report in The Arran Banner:
"On berthing at Brodick pier at 1040 [09/09/06] there was what was described as 'a serious incident'" [onboard Caledonian Isles]
"During disembarkation a corner of the fully laden mezzanine deck suddenly dropped by almost five feet. No passengers were injured and no vehicles damaged."
"Hugh Dan Maclennan [Caledonian MacBrayne Publicity Officer] said that the ships safety was never compromised. He went on to say that this was an unprecedented structural failure. Nobody has ever heard of it before."
"The Isle of Lewis will be checked as it is almost identical to the Arran ship."
"The damaged deck will be repaired at the end of September if Isle of Arran is available to fill in, or in January during annual service."
 
14/09/06 Western Isles:
Isle of Arran was running a hour late today. She was timetabled to arrive in Port Ellen at 1200 but due to a problem with one of her engines she did not berth until 1300. Further reports and updates on her situation due as we receive them.
 
13/09/06 Western Isles:
Due to a poor weather forecast, Lochnevis is running to an amended timetable. She will remain at Canna for only 5 minutes before departing for Rum and Mallaig straight away. Normally on a Wednesday she sits at Canna from 1255 - 1430.

Clyde:
Due to low tides in the Kilbrannan Sound, Loch Tarbert missed her 0930 ex Lochranza and 1005 ex Claonaig sailings. This is to be reviewed at 1030 with a view to resuming sailings.

 
12/09/06 Western Isles:
Due to technical difficulties the Lochaline - Fishnish service is currently off service until further notice. Caledonian MacBrayne apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Update:
The Lochaline-Fishnish service has now resumed, however due to the earlier technical difficulties it is not running to timetable, it is hoped this will be corrected within the next couple of runs.


Hebridean Isles
appears to have had some work carried out on her bow visor / ramp. The visor was opened and ramp lowered at Port Ellen this afternoon while she was berthed stern in.
 

Picture: SoC Crew
Hebridean Isles today

  Clyde:
MV Argyle - Update...
Argyle launched in Poland

Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne Limited is celebrating the launch of another new addition to its fleet - MV Argyle, the sister ship of MV Bute

Speaking at the launch ceremony in Gdaansk, Poland, Techcnical Director John Kerr said: “Over the last decade or so, CalMac has steadily been modernising the major ships in the fleet, serving the Inner and Outer Hebrides. The introduction of MV Argyle, alongside MV Bute, which was delivered by the Remontowa group in the summer of 2005, concludes an important stage in renewing the fleet on the Upper Clyde. MV Argyle is the second vessel for the Wemyss Bay/Rothesay route and will further improve the standards and quality of service that we provide to our customers on this route.”

Mr Kerr also confirmed that following the completion and fitting out of the vessel, it is expected that trials will be run by the end of November and the vessel to be delivered to the Company in the middle of December. The date for naming the vessel is still to be arranged but it is CalMac’s intention to carry out the naming ceremony in the vessel’s home port, Rothesay.

As in the case of her sister ship, the new MV “Argyle” will also be the seventh ship on the Clyde to have the name. The first one was a paddle steamer built in 1815 which was sold on after a matter of weeks in the Clyde. Of more significance however was the “Argyle” which, though built for Captain Duncan Stewart in 1866, was sold within a fortnight and partially replaced the “Bute” and “Kyles” for over twenty years on the services out of Wemyss Bay. She was owned first by the Wemyss Bay Steamboat Co. Ltd and subsequently by Messrs Gilles and Campbell – and was sold around the time the Caledonian SP Co took over the route in 1890.

It is interesting to note that the new MV Argyle will similarly be entering service around the time of significant changes within the Caledonian MacBrayne company structure.

MV Bute entered service on the Wemyss Bay to Rothesay service on July 11, 2005. Since entering service she has carried approximately 500,000 passengers and 100,000 cars and has been welcomed by the communities that she serves. CalMac believes that MV Argyle will be just as successful and concludes a very important stage in the Company’s fleet renewal programme for the service and support we provide to the communities on the Upper Clyde.

The ordering of new vessel was conducted in accordance with EU public procurement procedures. Value for money, reliability and delivery were the key factors in awarding the contract to the Remontowa yard. There were 4 bids for the project in the end and the Remontowa option clearly offered the best value for the investment. The new vessel will be identical to MV Bute at 72metres long and 15.3 metres breadth, with a draught of 5metres. She will carry 60 cars and 450 passengers on CalMac’s busiest route, and will enter service early in 2007 replacing another of the current Streakers servicing the route.

The increased capacity will open up the island of Bute to many more people, and make the Central Belt more accessible to island residents.
 
11/09/06 Clyde:
It is reported that the reason for Caledonian Isles' delays on Saturday was a broken wire in the pulley system for one of the mezzanine decks, resulting in slight damage to some vehicles although no injuries. It was also reported today that Isle of Arran was loaded with crew cars in Port Ellen, ready to sail for Arran in the event that Caledonian Isles required taking out of service.
 
09/09/06 Western Isles:
Hebridean Isles was 10 minutes late leaving Port Askaig today. She was due to depart at 1530 but left at 1540 this was due to the strong tide in the sound. The captain tried to come in the first time but the tide caught the boat and a second attempt was made.

Clyde:
Caledonian Isles
has suffered some sort of mechanical problem whilst at Brodick this morning. She is reported running well behind schedule

Picture: SoC Crew
Hebridean Isles turning
after the tide caught her
.

 
08/09/06 Clyde:
Jupiter is back on the Gourock - Dunoon roster this evening. Saturn was on this morning. The vessels swapped around change ex Gourock at 1320.
 
07/09/06 Western Isles:
With very low tides predicted over the next few days, several sailings have either been retimed or cancelled. For full details, see external link above, but details at present are:

Berneray - Leverburgh services retimed as follows:
7th:   Departs Berneray:     0720       0940      1600           Departs Leverburgh:  0830      1050      1730
8th:   Departs Berneray:     0720       0940      1600           Departs Leverburgh:  0830      1050      1730
9th:   Departs Berneray:     0720       1015      1600           Departs Leverburgh:  0830      1115      1730
10th: Departs Berneray:     0900                                        Departs Leverburgh:  1010
11th: Departs Berneray:     0720       1040      1330           Departs Leverburgh:  0830      1205      1730

Tobermory - Kilchoan services cancelled as follows:

1300 ex Tobermory and 1345 ex Kilchoan on Friday 8th
1430 ex Tobermory and 1515 ex Kilchoan on Saturday 9th

 
05/09/06 Western Isles:
Reminder:

Oban - Lochboisdale - Oban Saturday 9th September 2006

Customers are advised that the 0815 sailing Oban - Lochboisdale and the 1350 Lochboisdale - Oban on Saturday 9th September will operate the following revised schedule due to the forecasted low tidal conditions at Lochboisdale:
1000 ex Oban  arr Lochboisdale 1520
1540 ex Lochboisdale  arr Oban 2100
 
04/09/06 Clyde:
Saturn appears to have taken over on the Gourock - Dunoon roster as of 1320 ex Gourock today.
 
02/09/06 Western Isles:
Hebridean Isles
was 35 minutes late departing Port Askaig today. The reason behind her delay was due to a very high tide, as a result some of the cattle floats caught on her stern ramp. Isle of Arran was also 5 minutes late departing due to the cattle floats running late.

Picture: SoC Crew
Hebridean Isles unloading at Port Ellen

 
01/09/06 Clyde:
We have had a report that Bute was having trouble today. The 1430 sailing from Rothesay was cancelled following an incident on the car deck. A coach became stuck on the car deck and two of its windows were smashed. Bute had to be taken out of service and Juno was delayed. When she eventually got to the pier, Juno took the waiting traffic. Service returned to normal a short while later.

This years Country and Western Festival takes place in Millport from Friday 1st September until Sunday 3rd September. Long queues and delays are possible on the Largs - Cumbrae crossing, please allow extra time for travelling over this weekend.
 
News Logs:
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