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Barry Thomas

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  1. Hebridean Isles now out of service for investigation of its' hull. Definitely appears that MV Valium would be useful.
  2. No wonder so many Greek, or ex-Greek, ferries are named 'Superfast'.😁
  3. The woes continue, Hebrides now needs dry dock attention to leaking shaft oil seals and is out of service from Tuesday. Another swop round of ships and duties, right at the start of the livestock sales weeks with Mallaig - Lochboisdale services cancelled. I think new ships cannot arrive too soon.
  4. I looks as though some replacement ferries are need pdq. After its earlier failure MV Arrow has broken down again with a steering gear problem, and MV Bute is out for the day with engine defects. Calmac are having a torrid time with ship defects this Summer, lets hope trade slackens enough over the Winter for some of the vessels to receive the attention that they appear to need. MV Valium to the rescue?
  5. That was tongue in cheek, Ha Ha. From the Calmac website it looks as though they are hopeful of fixing the fault this morning, so you might be OK for tomorrow. But.... ye never know.🙄 If it is long Covid and the vessel has to have its prop shafts withdrawn it means a trip to a dry dock, a risk assessment, PPE for the prop shaft and screw, possibly quarantine after withdrawal. I assume long Covid will mean it cannot go very fast either, say a week to dry dock, 2 weeks to recover and a few weeks convalescence.😁😁
  6. Thank you both for your replies, very interesting, and my memory had not failed me! Seem to remember the vessels were around 3-4000 tons. Had a few 'experiences' in those days travelling in Europe, driving along a French road at what I thought was a good speed only to be passed by a 2CV bouncing along on its rather springy suspension, and oh the camber on some of the roads..... Driving over alpine passes, Armco what's Armco?, just the occasional big boulder. I also remember driving very slowly out on to the front ramp, which was down, after boarding via the stern and reversing into a gap beside another vehicle right up in the bows. Guess who was off first on arrival. Strictly forbidden by Health and Safety these days.
  7. Seeing this is Memory Lane, can any of you experts remember who owned the cross-Channel ferry company which operated out of Southampton in the 1960's. I remember travelling on a ro-ro ferry from Southampton in the mid-60's to, I think, Le Havre. Ships were Viking 1 etc. Took the car, a Standard Super 10, across for camping holidays; happy days and much less traffic with smaller lorries than today. We thought they were big ferries then, but insignificant rowing boats when compared with modern ferries. I brought the memory back a few days ago when seeing Hebridean Princess in Portland Harbour against a backdrop of a modern cruise ship, I can't remember which one as there have been so many around recently, but it looked tiny and hardly capable of venturing out of sight of land in comparison. Age does alter your memories of things, perhaps it's the 'marbles' rolling out the back door!
  8. Scottish TV could make a soap opera for mariners out of the troubles Calmac are experiencing! Caledonian Isles is out of service for a deep clean and replacement crew after a crew member tested positive for Covid19. I assume this means the entire crew have to isolate for a few days. Well I suppose it had to happen eventually, but where are they going to get a replacement crew from, not the Jobcentre I hope. Anyone going to Arran is in for a wait at the terminal with only one ferry running?
  9. Calmac may be owned by the Scottish Government but it is a hands off unit. I must admit that when it was David Macbrayne it operated some slow and elderly vessels, the current fleet is an altogether different type and style of ship. Increases in population and demands for both food and consumer goods means that the modern ships are pushed to their operational limits. I can recall the ships not moving on a Sunday and the Barra and South Uist crossings were combined; out of Oban to Castlebay the on to Lochboisdale. The North Uist ship did not move on a Sunday, neither did the Stornoway vessel. In fact the current Hebridean Princess is the old Columba, which was the winter relief and summer excursion boat. She had a gentle life with Macbraynes and is still toddling around the UK with her original Crossley engines. My memory is a bit hazy but I think she spent almost 20 years with Macbraynes but has been cruising for the best part of 35 years! Built in Scotland by Hall Russell. The modern 'pre fabricated' ships work much longer hours seven days a week, but there is no relief or standby vessel when one of them runs into trouble. Looking at recent reports about Loch Seaforth her engine failure was down to failure of components which should have been replaced during a maintenance period/docking some time earlier. The catastrophic failure of one engine meant a long period under repair, but more importantly for Calmac because of her capacity they needed to divert TWO ships to cope with traffic, and that was not in the peak holiday season. BF have had similar problems, if you remember when Pont Aven had an engine fire which led to the total replacement of one engine; luckily she was able to continue in service while the replacement engine was procured, (I love that word) but that was because of her multi-engine design. But she still had to go out of service for several weeks while the engine was replaced, but BF were able to do the work at a quiet time of the year.
  10. It is amazing how modern transport is susceptible to technology problems, how many container ships have wiped out cranes while trying to dock and the problem has been explained as a computer failure or software problem. In my honest opinion it all boils down to virtually every company being run with the main aim of maximising profit for shareholders. Prior to the 1980's so much was state owned, not just the UK but most of the world was the same, and the focus was service. Then came the great mantra ' Private ownership is better than state. Nations cannot afford investment but shareholders can.' The pendulum has swung too far towards profit and accountability, and now need to move back with the aim of balancing profit with service. It is like the armed forces, all the non-combat vehicles were sold to hire companies and the next time we go to fight the private companies will have to support them. So no Army buses that can act as emergency ambulances and staff cars driven by civilians, will they join in any combat? Sorry, I'm an old codger who cam remember the 60's with happy memories.
  11. To quote - 'it's another fine mess you have got us into' ( I think..)
  12. I see Hebridean Isles has troubles as well now, with todays service to Colonsay cancelled. The intended 'resilience' in the Lewis service produced by the chartering of MV Arrow is also a failure, that vessel has limped to Belfast (for repairs I assume) so the additional passenger journeys and increased freight capacity have fallen by the wayside just at the peak holiday season. I wonder if Calmac management are on the valium yet......?
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