Campbeltown ferry cancelled after Covid cases

The MV Isle of Arran was a welcome visitor to Campbeltown Loch last week.
The MV Isle of Arran.

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The Campbeltown-Ardrossan ferry service was cancelled on Sunday because of a Covid-19 outbreak on one of CalMac’s other vessels.

Sailings on the Campbeltown route were cancelled so the MV Isle of Arran could be redeployed to serve Arran after the MV Caledonian Isles was withdrawn from service on the Brodick-Ardrossan route because two staff members tested positive for the virus.

As well as deep cleaning the MV Caledonian Isles, CalMac said crew members who were in close contact with those who tested positive were replaced.

In place of Sunday’s scheduled ferry, a bus took foot passengers from Ardrossan to Campbeltown on Sunday afternoon before returning to the North Ayrshire town that evening.

In another blow, the redeployed MV Isle of Arran then had to be withdrawn from service to undergo ‘essential repairs’ to her bow visor seal.

This morning, CalMac advised that these repairs had been completed and the vessel was expected to return to service this afternoon.

The MV Caledonian Isles was also expected to resume normal service on the Brodick-Ardrossan route this afternoon after her crew returned negative Covid-19 test results.

Tommy Gore, area operations manager, apologised for the inconvenience and thanked passengers for their understanding.

Earlier this month, CalMac announced that passenger numbers on its ferries could return to normal levels following the First Minister’s announcement that Scotland was moving ‘beyond level zero’.

Ferries had been operating at around 30 per cent of normal capacity.

While this will improve capacity for foot passengers, vehicle ticket availability is likely to remain limited on some services as capacity on car decks is already being reached during periods of high demand.

To reduce the risk of new Covid-19 strains spreading, some mitigations will remain in place.

Face coverings will continue to be mandatory inside ferries and ports unless exempt, and increased vessel turnaround times will continue to allow for enhanced cleaning.

Perspex screens will be retained in ports and on vessels for the protection of staff and passengers.