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The MV Pentalina will not be servicing routes in the area after Pentland Ferries pulled out of a deal to lease the catamaran to CalMac.
The ferry had carried out berthing trials last month in Campbeltown.
Talks appeared to be at an advanced stage for the deployment of the vessel to provide additional resilience on CalMac’s west coast ferry network but, on Tuesday, Pentland Ferries announced ‘with much regret’ it was withdrawing.
Andrew Banks, managing director at Pentland Ferries, said the vessel was safe and suitable for service but issues outwith the company’s control were likely to arise over the lifespan of the contract to threaten commercial viability.
‘I would like to stress that the talks with CalMac Ferries were positive and constructive, and the vessel herself is safe and very suitable for service on the west coast,’ Mr Banks said.
‘However, our priority has to be to the continued viability of Pentland Ferries and to our employees and passengers.
‘We cannot commit to a scenario whereby external factors have the potential to cause severe risk and reputational damage to the business that we have worked so hard to build, and unfortunately we have therefore let CalMac know of our decision.’
CalMac’s managing director Robbie Drummond said the company was ‘surprised and disappointed’ by the unexpected news.
‘This was entirely a decision for Pentland Ferries in relation to the use of its vessel,’ Mr Drummond said. ‘We will continue to work closely with Transport Scotland and Pentland Ferries and should they revisit that decision and make the vessel available to us at a future date, we would consider this option again.’