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CalMac ageing fleet and reliability.


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I see Cal Mac are in the mire again. Loch Seaforth, the newest in the fleet, out with a major engine breakdown and having to be replaced by Isle of Lewis and Isle of Arran. Now one of those has a 'technical problem'. With the Glen Sannox plus sister ship fiasco, both now well over two years overdue, over budget and going rusty on the slips; CalMac management are having to manage an increasingly difficult battle with ship reliability. Any guesses when the Glen Sannox plus mate will eventually be in service? In the meantime the oldest and stalwarts, LOTI and Hebridean Isles, continue to ply across the turbulent Scottish waters. Its a bit ironic that the Hebridean Princess has been in service a lot longer as a cruise ship than her service with CalMac, and.... she is, I understand, still running with her original Crossley engines!!

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2 minutes ago, Cabin-boy said:

Wasn't she built by FSG? Do you think their after-sales hotline is still working?

Ed

Yes it was FSG that built her. She has only been in service since February 2015.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Loch Seaforth is currently en route back to Stornoway, which will allow the cascade of ships to be reversed. It's caused utter carnage.

Below are the affected vessels' normal routes and what they've been deputised to.

Isle of Lewis: Oban to Castlebay > Ullapool to Stornoway

Hebridean Isles: Kennacraig to Port Askaig & Kennacraig to Port Ellen > Ullapool to Stornoway

Lord of the Isles: Mallaig to Armadale & Mallaig to Lochboisdale > Oban to Castlebay / Lochboisdale

Isle of Arran: Ardrossan to Brodick & Ardrossan to Campbeltown > Kennacraig to Port Ellen

Finlaggan: Kennacraig to Port Askaig & Kennacraig to Port Ellen > Kennacraig to Port Askaig

 

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Yes, and the Isle of Arran had to be swopped with Hebridean Isles because of a defect, I assume with stabilisers, the Islay run being a less exposed run than the Minch. But... once the vessels are released from their existing locations, which I anticipate will be done tomorrow, she will need to be repaired at some time . So, yet another problem for CalMac. Anyone heard how Glen Sannox etc. are progressing? 

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4 hours ago, Barry Thomas said:

Yes, and the Isle of Arran had to be swopped with Hebridean Isles because of a defect, I assume with stabilisers, the Islay run being a less exposed run than the Minch. But... once the vessels are released from their existing locations, which I anticipate will be done tomorrow, she will need to be repaired at some time . So, yet another problem for CalMac. Anyone heard how Glen Sannox etc. are progressing? 

Saw Glen Sannox a few days ago. Huge parts of the superstructure are missing, replacement funnels only just fitted, many windows still need to be cut in overlooking the bow and all windows on the bridge are merely painted on. She's also extremely high in the water to the point that the bow thrusters are able to be seen, so I'd take a punt that a lot more needs to go inside. Hull 802 (the sister ship) is barely a hull sat on the slipway. GS due in service summer 2022 at the moment, 802 apparently spring 2023.

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Thank you for the update. I understand the wooden glazing was present when she was launched, who was trying to kid who? Built on the Clyde, mmmmm. (Sorry, I lived in Scotland for 10 years and used the ferries regularly, hence the cynicism. Happy days jumping the queue at Kyle when heading for Uig; that guides you how many years ago it was.!!)

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Loch Seaforth's trials were successful, allowing her to resume with the overnight freight sailing on Monday. With some time to spare, Hebridean Isles took the scenic route south and anchored off Raasay for an hour - allowing the Master to see their brother (in command of Hallaig) and dad (watching from the shore). 

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1 hour ago, Barry Thomas said:

With the reduction in most of Scotlands' Covid alert level I think most of the tourist trade will be much happier now. But how long until the next ferry has a 'technical problem'?

This is the issue. There's no slack in the CalMac fleet. My understanding is that the Glen Sannox is meant to release either Isle of Arran or Hebridean Isles for disposal, which is ludicrous given the circumstances. Hull 802 (when/if complete) supposedly will release the other. There's plans for a new Islay ship to complement the superb Finlaggan, but it's many years away. I imagine that would result in Lord of the Isles being disposed of.

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48 minutes ago, fiobhaniar said:

Lord of the Isles

The Scots might need to get rid of Lady of the Swamp first and put someone in charge who can get a grip on the situation. 😂

Ed

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28 minutes ago, Cabin-boy said:

The Scots might need to get rid of Lady of the Swamp first and put someone in charge who can get a grip on the situation. 😂

Ed

You love politician bashing don't you ...

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7 hours ago, fiobhaniar said:

This is the issue. There's no slack in the CalMac fleet. My understanding is that the Glen Sannox is meant to release either Isle of Arran or Hebridean Isles for disposal, which is ludicrous given the circumstances. Hull 802 (when/if complete) supposedly will release the other. There's plans for a new Islay ship to complement the superb Finlaggan, but it's many years away. I imagine that would result in Lord of the Isles being disposed of.

Yes, bean counters to the fore. Too many industries are run by accountants seeking lowest costs plus maximum income. Ferries to the Scottish Islands are already recognised as essential ,hence Road Equivalent Tariffs for a lot of the traffic. CalMac, I understand, were made to dispose of the Claymore when that was the spare vessel and ever since then there has been no spare capacity in the fleet. Rant over, I will now shut up on this subject.

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6 hours ago, Barry Thomas said:

Yes, bean counters to the fore. Too many industries are run by accountants seeking lowest costs plus maximum income. Ferries to the Scottish Islands are already recognised as essential ,hence Road Equivalent Tariffs for a lot of the traffic. CalMac, I understand, were made to dispose of the Claymore when that was the spare vessel and ever since then there has been no spare capacity in the fleet. Rant over, I will now shut up on this subject.

Not only did the government of the day force Claymore to be sold, CalMac were forced to refit her at the taxpayer’s expense first.

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  • 4 weeks later...

And the possible charter of Pentalina as a relief vessel has collapsed. This report doesn't mention the RMT's issues with the ship - I am not judging the rights or wrongs of that so this is not a political comment - but I suspect that CalMac is heading for a difficult summer with no spare capacity if/when a vessel fails.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-57651478

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And 'Murphys Law' has just struck with 'Isle of Arran' out of service for at least today. 

One of the problems is that the island terminals are fairly small and the size of vessel that can use them is fairly restricted; with the ever increasing size of ro-ro ferries on most routes the availability of suitable 'loan' vessels is very limited. Pity there is no ferry hire service akin to aircraft charter or van hire, but the cash tied up in assets would give the bean counters an apolexy (now there's a word which is rarely used nowadays).

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We're booked to cross to Arran next Saturday. We've had no contact about reduced sailings nor has my sister who will cross from Ardrossan on Friday.

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Posted (edited)
On 04/07/2021 at 11:53, jonno said:

We're booked to cross to Arran next Saturday. We've had no contact about reduced sailings nor has my sister who will cross from Ardrossan on Friday.

Isle of Arran only provides the additional summer crossings on that route anyway, it's mainly Caledonian Isles that does the bulk of the work.

Edited by fiobhaniar
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 19/07/2021 at 12:08, VikingVoyager said:

anyone know what the current situation is with Cal Mac?

In what sense? The only major issues just now are that the freight-only MV Arrow (that has just been chartered) has broken down, meaning Loch Seaforth has to do some extra freight crossings vice daytime passenger sailings; and that MV Argyll Flyer is still having repairs following issues discovered while on overhaul.

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