Highlands & Islands

Problem hits second ferry serving Western Isles

MV Isle of Lewis
Image caption A new ferry is on order to replace MV Isle of Lewis in the summer of 2014

A ferry serving a mainland to Western Isles route has broken down just days after a vessel was taken out of service when six of its crew fell ill.

The starboard engine of the MV Isle of Lewis failed on Wednesday leading to the cancellation of sailings between Ullapool and Stornoway on Lewis.

Caledonian MacBrayne has re-directed passengers to the Uig, on Skye, to Tarbert, on Harris, service.

The MV Lord of the Isles was withdrawn from service on Tuesday.

The move has disrupted services between Oban and the isles.

CalMac said repairs were progressing well on the Isle of Lewis, which has been tied up alongside the pier at Ullapool.

A spokesman said: "Repairs to the MV Isle of Lewis are progressing and sea trials are now planned for this evening.

"If successful she will depart Ullapool and pick up the 07:00 Stornoway-Ullapool service tomorrow morning.

"In the meantime, traffic is being redirected to Uig-Tarbert, where additional sailings have been put in place. CalMac apologises for any inconvenience caused."

New ferry

The Lord of the Isles is expected to return to service on Friday with the 17:00 Oban to Colonsay sailing.

Last summer, Western Isles councillor Ian Mackay said the Isle of Lewis was breaking down too often.

At the time the ferry had broken down for the second time in about two weeks.

The Scottish government has ordered the construction of a new £41.8m vessel for the route.

It will be able to take 700 passengers, 143 cars or 20 commercial vehicles.

Last year, Transport Minister Keith Brown said passengers would see marked improvements on the route once it started sailing in June 2014.

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