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National Islands Plan

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Paul Wheelhouse Paul Wheelhouse Scottish National Party

I recognise the huge frustration that the situation that has arisen will be causing, not just for Mr Gibson but for his constituents. I note that Peel Ports has apologised to customers for the failure of the linkspan in Ardrossan, and I welcome its engagement in an effort to rectify the situation.

I can reassure Mr Gibson that, following the linkspan failure on Saturday, the replacement motor has arrived in Irvine and is ready to be transported to Ardrossan this afternoon. The timescales for the work include installation and tests, which, if successful, could result in the linkspan being back in service this evening but, obviously, we will have to wait and see how that goes.

Peel Ports is to provide an update on the situation at about half past 3, which might be happening as we speak. Unfortunately, the south-westerly wind direction at Troon, which was deemed to be the alternative harbour for the period of the repairs, and the gusting speeds of in excess of 30 knots are having an impact on the MV Caledonian Isles. It does not have enough power to safely get off the berth in such conditions. Unfortunately, that has resulted in a passengers-only service between Brodick and Ardrossan. That is the master’s decision. I am sure that Mr Gibson is aware of the legal position on that. CalMac Ferries fully supports that decision on the grounds of safety, and so do we.

The recent linkspan issues at Gourock are being managed effectively by both Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd and CalMac. Engineers will assess the scale of work tomorrow, and we hope that repairs will start in the week commencing 21 October.