AND HERE IS THE NEW OFFER TO SOLVE THE FERRY CRISIS…LATEST!

The Ferry Crisis Development Proposal

Our group (Clyde Catamaran Group) led by Dr Stuart Ballantyne, Professor Alf Baird, Peter Breslin of Govan Drydock, Robert Buirds of Save Inchgreen Drydock Campaign, and Ken McArthur of Marine Capital Corp, has offered Scottish Government Ministers a solution to resolve the current crisis affecting our Scottish Ferry Fleet which would involve: –

  • Build a new ferry fleet (based on the safest and most environmentally efficient vessels, and well proven designs)
  • Save the taxpayer millions (and over a £billion in the long run)
  • Increase sailings, capacity, and service frequency/reliability
  • Reinvigorate Scottish commercial shipbuilding.
  • Create hundreds of skilled jobs and apprenticeships (a dedicated shipbuilding training centre)

Build a new ferry fleet

Stuart will provide the licence for his proven catamaran design which will form the basic vessel design for most of the Scottish ferry fleet encompassing all ship sizes/capacities required. This will replace the CMAL one-off designs (prototype ship) which has been a major flaw in ferry strategy for building the new fleet. One-off design is more expensive as you are starting from scratch which takes added time and money and requires new ship worthiness certification for each new ship.

Stuart’s proven designs removes the time it takes to approve design, planning and certification saving time and money. Proven and more efficient designs also take much less time to build and avoids uncertainties and problems in the shipyard associated with unique unproven prototype construction, which results in added cost and delay, and runs the risk of catastrophic failure as we have seen with the two unfinished CMAL ferries at Port Glasgow.

Saving the taxpayer millions (billions in the long run)

Stable ferry design allows the shipbuilder to develop a conveyor belt production line of vessel section fabrication and a chain of procurement for quicker assembly and delivery. This also allows the builder to manage his strategic priorities and workforce requirements saving time and resources.

Scotland’s ageing obsolete ferry fleet requires around 50 new vessels over the next 15-20 years. At the current rate of build, less than 1 new vessel per year, it would take over 50 years to replace the already outdated fleet.  This is not feasible or acceptable as many ships are already too old and need scrapped, plus cost of ship repair and maintenance is increasing markedly.

Therefore, a quicker method of replacing the fleet is essential. However, there is no coherent plan in place currently to meet any timescale, with CMAL continuing its failed procurement strategy based on in-house poorly specified monohulls which excludes evaluation of the more optimal catamaran option. This failing should be rectified as a matter of urgency.

Stuart Ballantyne standard 50m catamaran ferry design (part of a new 30-vessel fleet for The Philippines)

Proposed ferry shipbuilding programme for Scotland

We propose a 20-year timescale that would see 50 vessels of the proven catamaran design built as follows: –

CalMac

10 x 35m/30 car   = £100m

10 x 50m/50 car   = £170m

10 x 85m/100 car = £250m

Orkney/Shetland internal services

10x 35m/30 car = £100m

10 x 50m/50 car = £170m

That’s a total order book worth approximately £800m (at today’s prices) and 50 vessels delivered in a 20-year timespan. We will also be looking at the export market during this period and to build at least another 10 vessels of various sizes for around £200-300m. That would then amount to an approx. £1 billion investment on the Clyde for 60 vessels over 20 years. 

CMAL, at their present rate of delivery and excessive cost of monohull one off designs would take over 50 years to replace the present fleet at a cost of £2billion+. This is twice the time to build and twice the cost, both of which should be considered as unacceptable. Our proposal would therefore save the taxpayer at least £1 billion and provide for far more rapid and reliable total fleet replacement in half the time.

Importantly, the annual operating cost of more efficient catamarans is around half that of current CMAL monohull vessels. This means that operating subsidies will be expected to reduce as more catamarans begin to enter service. We expect the savings in operating subsidy could exceed £1 billion over the 20-year build programme period, which may be sufficient to pay for much of the fleet replacement with catamarans. 

This means that the entire Scottish ferry fleet of some 50 vessels could in large part be financed via savings over time in operating subsidy, without significant changes in user tariffs or Scottish Government having to find significant additional money. Arrangement of ship lease and/or long-term charter arrangements for new ferries may also further alleviate pressure on public sector finance.

Importantly, the annual operating cost of more efficient catamarans is around half that of current CMAL monohull vessels. This means that operating subsidies will be expected to reduce as more catamarans begin to enter service. We expect the savings in operating subsidy could exceed £1 billion over the 20-year build programme period, which may be sufficient to pay for much of the fleet replacement with catamarans. 

L-R, Peter Breslin, Dr Stuart Ballantyne and Professor Alf Baird

The entire Scottish ferry fleet of some 50 vessels could in large part be financed via savings over time in operating subsidy, without significant changes in user tariffs or Scottish Government having to find significant additional money. Arrangement of ship lease and/or long-term charter arrangements for new ferries may also further alleviate pressure on public sector finance.

Increase sailings and service frequency/reliability

There is a demand from ferry service users for additional services which could be accommodated by our catamaran building proposal. As vessel production increases and ship running costs are reduced, this may allow for further investment in new tonnage from savings made.

We don’t envisage extensive permanent crew accommodation on some of the vessels as we expect the crew will mostly live at home or be accommodated in hotels when required. This has long been common practice in the Northern Isles internal services and elsewhere in Scotland. 

The change in working practices would be beneficial for the crew living at home and there would obviously be discussions with their Trade Union RMT.  

There is also scope for a daily two-shift system on some routes, as with public transport more generally, providing for a longer ship operating day to the benefit of island communities and other users.

However, the demand for a significantly increased service capacity exists and needs to be addressed, as does the urgent need to replace the fleet in a more cost-effective and affordable manner.

Stuart Ballantyne’s 70m catamaran (operating in Orkney, Trinidad, Netherlands etc)

Revigorated Scottish commercial shipbuilding

Both the UK and Scottish Governments recognise that shipbuilding expansion is required, and the UK government produced a report in 2017 by Sir John Parker ‘National Shipbuilding Strategy 2017’ and further refreshed in March 2022. Building the new ferry fleet on the Clyde will complement the strategy and we have started discussions with the National Shipbuilding Office (NSO). 

We will require funding to refurbish both Inchgreen and Govan and will be approaching the NSO fund, UK levelling up fund, Scottish Government, and private investors.

Both Inchgreen and Govan will require investment to upgrade their facilities. Ferguson Marine has been upgraded and will not require much investment if any. Ferguson’s will also be building sections for the ferries that will be floated to Inchgreen and Govan drydocks for assembly.  

Create hundreds of skilled jobs and apprenticeships (a dedicated shipbuilding training centre).

We envisage the plan will require a direct skilled workforce of around 1200.  This will require a dedicated training centre for the project. The new training centre will be sited at Inchgreen on similar lines as the previous successful Scott Lithgow training centre. 

The supply chain will also create many additional jobs around the country and boost the local economies. This will not only reinvigorate the shipbuilding industry but more importantly the Inverclyde and Govan areas which have many social and deprivation issues.

The Clyde Catamaran Group await the response of Scottish Government Ministers to this proposal.

MY COMMENTS

Here is a genuine offer that has the clear potential to provide a clean and effective solution, to the ferry debacle. The advantages? Tried and tested design and much more efficient to build. Cheaper as well and just to put the cherry on the cake these modern ferries operate at around half the running costs of the outdated, inefficient and unreliable CMAL fleet. Let’s hope the battered and bruised Scottish Government grab the opportunity to build the ships the islanders want and need and also grab the opportunity to rebuild shipbuilding on the Clyde building for both the home and export market ferries that are popular, modern and efficient. Give them a reply please, all Scotland is waiting.

I am, as always

Yours for Scotland

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54 thoughts on “AND HERE IS THE NEW OFFER TO SOLVE THE FERRY CRISIS…LATEST!

  1. Naw Iain, this’ll no dae at a’. For one, it’s eminently sensible, would provide the new ferries that the islander are so desperate for, cheaper, create and save a lot of jobs, I imagine the islanders would bite your hand off for this.
    Well thought out and a great offer, should be accepted. But see where the major flaw is, the wicked witch of Bute house didnae think of this, so it’s probably got nae chance of being accepted.
    If they let this wonderful offer go, from people who actually know and understand the ferry business well. they should be kicked out of office for ever. They also should be answerable in court for the millions that the have wasted of public money.

    Liked by 21 people

    1. The innate intransigence of the Sturgeon led SNP group within Holyrood is evidenced in every sphere of stewardship where failure to deliver or achieve has been to Scotland’s detriment.

      The Ferries fiasco is yet another example in which it becomes difficult to discern whether the official dissemination of information to the public is factual or a smokescreen in a deliberate attempt to bury any notion of malpractice or corruption in the supposed tendering process.

      Delivering contracts to foreign nations in the sphere of shipbuilding demonstrates the contempt this Sturgeon led Holyrood government has for the rich heritage of shipbuilding on the Clyde and for the future economic success essential if we are to compete in International markets.

      Govan, once home to the world leading shipbuilding industry now represented by the First Minister of Scotland who sees no shame in abandoning the opportunity for her constituents to once more strive to prove that Clyde built was the best.

      What is she (STURGEON) but a JUDAS AND A SHAMELESS CHARLATAN, what a legacy. The late Margo MacDonald led the way into Govan for the SNP, never could we have imagined the destruction of the party of INDEPENDENCE from within the heart of that constituency.

      GO NOW STURGEON, time is rapidly running out for SCOTLAND, and for you!!

      Liked by 17 people

      1. Is there a way to get this information out to the good folk of Govan so that they can see the truth of how their intersts are ignored by the current Scottish Government and even the MSP they elect? if their eyes were opened to what is happening, I think they would be demanding change.

        Liked by 6 people

  2. Nice.
    Minor point might be to question what is/was the difficulty in meeting CMALs requirements (ie for accommodation) and incorporating that into the standard design – ie (presumably) improve working conditions in South East Asia rather than, say, eroding those in Scotland?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The vast majority of routes in Scotland are relatively short. The catamarans are faster as well which will further cut journey times. Ullapool to Stornaway for instance, one of the longer routes takes only 2 hours 45 minutes. Oban to Mull is 45 minutes while sailing to Arran is 55 minutes. Why is accommodation needed when it hugely increases the build cost?

      Liked by 21 people

      1. There will be many better reasons but responding to the Clients brief used to take precedence. eg the catamaran consortium ought to offer the accommodation requested together with a discount for its removal if so desired – thus allowing CMAL to assess whether it is/was a price worth paying..

        Turning the cost benefit question around; one reason for a contractor to remove expensive items from the tender might to have more (time and price) leverage when they are inevitably reintroduced, so any failure to respect the customer’s initial experience based requirements risks inviting suspicion from the outset – which is presumably the opposite of what is intended.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Stuart the primary clients here are the island communities, not the quango CMAL that does not have a single island representative on their board. The community on Mull for instance raised finance fortheir own report after being told by CMAL that catamarans were unsuitable. Their expert report told a completely different story and the islanders have been arguing for a catamaran solution ever since.

        Liked by 17 people

      3. @Iain
        I guess if the islanders used the report to establish their own routes and finance their own catamaran they could even go as far as to specify a remote control ferry with no crew at all – if that fit with their operating requirements and their expert’s recommendation(s), etc.

        However, point I was trying to make is that it shouldn’t be difficult to offer a solution for shipside crew accommodation to fit the current buyer’s stated need – but if it is, for whatever reason, then perhaps its the (potential) supplier that needs to up its game if it hopes to work for /replace CMAL.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. For me Stuart the point is made by Iain: the only ones that matter here are the island communities. Those communities have collapsing businesses, shortages and can’t even be sure of reaching mainland health appointments. It seems to me that a damned good explanation needs to be given for both the current mess and any push back on this life line solution.

        Does the SG understand – or care – that livelihoods and lives are being destroyed?

        Liked by 9 people

      5. Well , here’s hoping that these proposals are discussed fully by the relevant MPs , MSPs and the islanders who depend on these services. They have been given a viable plan , it’s up to the islanders themselves to bring the necessary pressure to bear on their politicians. Scottish infrastructure has a very low priority with our pols and even nowadays , the SNP hardly try a leg to get it in place.

        Liked by 3 people

      6. If you read the details of the proposed catamarans, they aren’t faster than the large monohull ships. More efficient, yes, but not faster.
        Ullapool to Stornoway crew do need some accommodation provision, but quite honestly this could be more easily and cheaply provided by on-shore buildings.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The problem with getting this very able and proven team of ferry builders on board to build cheaper and reliable ferries for Scotland, is that they’ll be no way of dishing out backhanders and syphoning of taxpayer’s cash into secret slush funds or whatever the hell the SNP government has done with the cash, roughly £100 million already pumped into this one ferry as the other isn’t a ferry yet, and now we’re informed the second one will be completed even later than thought at a higher cost.

    As we know Sturgeon likes to do things her way regardless of the consequences to the Scottish taxpayer, the Scottish government’s lawyers on the Salmond fiasco insisted that they dropped the case, but she wouldn’t until the penny finally dropped that she had to, again at great expense to the taxpayer. These two White Elephant ferries will continue to swallow much more of taxpayer’s cash and, in my opinion, that they won’t be any better than the ferries that are being proposed in here which have been proven to work well around the globe for decades.

    Liked by 17 people

    1. She’ll be long gone before any one of them is carrying passengers. Bury it in inquiries that take years is the strategy.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very apt that this has surfaced now. With the original 2 being delayed yet again, costs rising and not even being dual fueled the SG could scrap them and start from scratch quicker and cheaper! Perhaps the metal could be used ( at least get something from the contract).
    Considering they had this plan to replace the ferries in 2012 and have delivered virtually nothing you would expect them to grab this (even as a face saver). It won’t see the light of day as SG, CMAL and CalMac know best.

    Liked by 13 people

    1. If they don’t then the surely run huge risks of survival when the next horrendous disaster befalls the CMAL process. As it surely will, their ships are not suitable. What is not being mentioned is there is a 60 million build cost to make the jetties capable of hosting CMAL’s design.

      Liked by 18 people

  5. I don’t know anything about ferries but tried to get the SG interested in the Clyde Global Port initiative some years ago. Some elements are taking shape but a long way to go. It’s significant that many Second Cities in Europe are highly successful ports and some are the wealthiest cities in their countries, eg Hamburg, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Goteborg, Aarhus and Bergen . We should seek to emulate them.

    Liked by 12 people

    1. The main difference, Graeme, is that major seaports on the continent (and globally) are still publicly owned and regulated, albeit with privately operated/concessioned terminals. Here the Tories sold off Forth, Clyde and Tay ports in their entirety and also gave the regulatory powers away as well, all now monopolised and exploited/plundered by non-transparent offshore private equity funds. Our major airports and other utilities are in the same ‘boat’ more or less. The SNP Gov could have done much more on strategic national infrastructure (e.g. a maritime policy even!) but has chosen to support the dysfunctional UK ‘model’.

      https://reidfoundation.scot/2016/01/sort-out-our-ports/

      Liked by 8 people

  6. Aside from hulk 801 and 802 have a look at the second hand punt they bought for the Craignure Oban route. If that does not convince you the whole lot of them need to pee in bottle or give blood so they can be tested for mind altering drugs and recreational pharmaceuticals you are not paying attention.

    Liked by 16 people

  7. This idea of standardisation of both ferries and docking facilities should have been adopted decades ago.
    Without trying to deflect any of the current heat, long before any SNP involvement.
    This, along with a continuous rolling replacement programme is undoubtedly the answer.
    The pity is, that it will now take decades to see any positive change…and that’s only if the Scottish Government act NOW.

    Liked by 9 people

  8. I suspect that there will be two problems with this (to my mind excellent) proposal:
    1: As far as CalMac/Cmal/hangers on are concerned it will be a matter of N.I.H. – Not Invented Here. I suspect quite a few would be worried about their future employment!
    2: I can see the R.M.T. being against it on principle – they are the reason that P&O Ferries went through such a hard process this year, they are also behind many/most of the train strikes in the South East of England.
    I hope it comes off – Scotland needs modern ferries to facilitate (in no particular order) education, medical care, tourism and supplies arriving on the islands.

    Liked by 9 people

      1. When you watch the response by the CMAL chairman to the questions being put forward by the (spit) bbc guy it illustrates the contempt these people have towards accountability , there are TOO MANY unanswerable QUANGOS in Scotland . we DESPERATELY need people’s assemblies

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Having just returned from a 5-day trip around some of the islands with my 2 sons, I have heard how much businesses need their ferry services to be reliable.

    Hoteliers told me of lost business simply because the ferry broke down with no replacement vessel to provide the service. Some told me how precarious their business is just now with the huge hike in energy costs and increased prices of supplies, and the last thing they need is for their customers to be stranded on the mainland, or for that matter unable to return home!

    Of course, there is likely to be hostility from the expected quarters but it definitely will not come from the islanders.

    Liked by 14 people

  10. I hope the Clyde Catamaran Group are talking to the media, and offering a follow up programme to the recent BBC ferry documentary.

    Liked by 17 people

  11. This ticks all the boxes and a great team to deliver it.
    This could be the start of a new Scottish shipbuilding industry.
    The advantages of a shift system which uses local labour and local hotels would have a knock in effect in the tourist industry with hotels being able to open all year.
    There is , I am afraid only one fly in the ointment and that is Nicola Sturgeon.
    I honestly feel that she would have to be removed before such a project would be sanctioned by the Scottish government.

    Liked by 16 people

  12. An eminently sensible proposal which would be such a boon for Scotland and the island communities. Unfortunately, I can see the Scottish Government rejecting it purely out of spite and their inability to admit to their own mistakes come hell or high water. As a government, they have long since ceased to act in Scotland’s best interests.

    Liked by 14 people

  13. I was Wondering how stable are the Catamarans in Stormy Seas with Scottish waters the way they are ?

    Like

    1. Since they appear to successfully operate in typhoon torn seas , I expect that a wee south westerly will not cause them to great a problem.

      Liked by 6 people

    2. Catamarans tend to be a lot more stable than monohull vessels, seen it on fishing boats, smaller catamarans working on days when larger boats are tied along side the pier wall

      Liked by 6 people

  14. Superb, proposal.

    And everyone involved should be congratulated for their contribution. The proposal is brilliant, cost effective, elegant and humane.

    Being a Greenockian, I also love that people want to refurbish and reuse the Inchgreen Drydock. It is a wonder of natural and industrial beauty. The sound of the horns on the river and the shipbuilders at work brings a magic to the Clyde. I also like that this idea brings the Clyde back to its natural mileau of being a merchant river and away from being a military river.

    If anything needs investment, consider crowdfunding… I think you would be surprised by the goodwill and uptake.

    Alf, Stuart, Peter, Robert, Ken… Good luck!! And, respect.

    Liked by 17 people

  15. Imaginative and ambitious, planned over an extended, value-added timeline, alloyed with commercial common-sense and presented by people who actually know what they’re talking about—only the criminally hubristic will find reason(s) not to wholeheartedly engage with this proposal!

    Liked by 11 people

  16. Even as a layman you know something is up when experts like Dr Ballantyne and Professor Baird are ignored deliberately by our Colonial administration in Hollyrood. Sturgeons game of undermining Scotland from within must come to a end sooner rather than later. We have never had a better time to leave this coercive one way Union. But the main independence party who claim they want a referendum are not yet campaigning funny that. Dissolve the Union.

    Liked by 14 people

  17. Firstly I would like to acknowledge the very generous offer by the proposers to put this on the table.

    The accommodation issue is to ensure that the Crew Labour pool covers the UK. This is a relic of the old Merchant Navy deep water life when voyages could be years and seldom less than 6 months.

    The focus is on Union members desires and costs instead of the islanders. It is not like an Oil Rig with 12 hour shifts and high transport costs ( helicopters).

    Look at Western Ferries between Hunters Quay and McInroys Point. Fast efficient service (every 15minutes at peak). Seldom off, reliable, stick to schedule. They don’t come under the consortium control. They employee many, many locals who relate to what their neighbours want. The crew are customers and are connected to the users.
    I know it is an easier stretch of water than the Outer Hebrides but the model is closer to what the customer wants as is the case with Western Ferries.

    We are designing ferries to fit the demands of a UK Trade Union and a Clique of Dinosaurs at CMAL.

    I remember in the early days of the Merchant Navy having a ship “blacked” because I carried a few spares from a van up the gangway. I had to go and apologise to the Union and have four dockers for four hours to “load” replacements on the ship. It came as no surprise to me when the container era exploded.

    Protect Workers Rights but don’t forget who the ultimate customer is.

    If you were having an extension built on your house would you give up a couple of bedrooms and your kitchen and bathroom to ensure that a building team from Liverpool could compete with a local builder on cost.?

    If you cannot recruit locals then put people in accommodation onshore/ in port. It would be a lot cheaper than designing a ship around crew demands. Western Ferries run several mini buses to shuttle crew.
    Imagine you applied for a well paid job in London and at the interview you demanded accommodation be installed in the office for you!

    Time to put the Island Community Customer first.

    However Sturgeon will not listen to anyone outside of her inner circle of worshipers.

    Liked by 10 people

    1. Alternatively, imagine you intended to get a family car to help go about your future business in the traditional manner but instead came home with a two seater and a boot load of contraceptives & experimental drugs after the salesman’s asian experience (and no little personal abuse) convinced you that you hadn’t a clue what you were doing.. or applying for a well paid job in London that DIDN’T have accommodation provided.

      Like

      1. You getting borderline irrelevant Stuart. We are building efficient ferry services for our islands, not providing unnecessary and expensive accommodation. See Prof. Baird reply below.

        Liked by 7 people

    2. She would also back off from a confrontation with a union , no matter how silly their position , she thinks she can get them fully on board on other issues by submitting to them , as is her normal practice , , fat chance.

      Liked by 2 people

  18. I am sure the gang know a helluva lot more than I do re ferries, however my experience of ferries in Scotland is that they need to be able to sustain a safe service in all weathers. The catamarans I have used regularly over the years between France and UK, for example, can operate up to a force 8. The Ferry to Shetland and other open sea ferries have to go beyond this. So can someone explain how these proposed ferries deal with this issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is a major difference between steel-hull medium-speed ferries and aluminium high-speed craft, irrespective of whether they are monohulls or catamarans/trimarans. The English Channel craft you refer to are the latter – aluminium hull and high-speed. The former, steel-hull and medium-speed catamarans have operated effectively on the Pentland Firth in Bft8 for more than 10 years and provide a reliable service, arguably even more reliable than monohulls. These vessels also now operate in most regions globally. https://www.seatransport.com/ferries/

      Specific operating advantages of the proven design steel-hull medium-speed vehicle-carrying roro catamaran, which Dr. Ballantyne invented, and based on decades of experience include: lower superstructure/windage, hence less affected by high winds; quad screw (as compared with just two props on monohulls) aids berthing in confined harbour areas, and also allows ship to operate with one engine out; one-third less draft for the catamaran means these boats can use shallower harbours without any need for costly dredging, and less draft also minimises ship resistance and hence lowers power required (medium-speed catamaran has half the power/fuel cons. of a similar capacity/speed monohull), and aids comfort at sea. The catamaran, with two hulls is also a far more stable and safer platform, whereas the monohull ferry is inherently unstable and actually depends on ballast tanks for stability – there are no ballast tanks needed on the catamaran.

      Liked by 11 people

      1. Very seldom do you see a Pentalina not running when half of the Calmac fleet are tied up, and the Pentland Firth is a harsher sea than the Minch, running across tide for much of it, The only ferries that would need accommodation are the larger ones for the Stornaway- Ullapool, and the Uig triangle route, nearly every other ferry in the Calmac fleet is manned by locals, the Raasay – Sconser ferry is crewed by folks from Raasay, the Leverburgh – Berneray ferry is crewed by Uist and Benbecula, Mallaig – Armadale is mostly Mallaig based crew, especially the winter timetables.

        I really hope the Scotgov see sense and go the cat hull route, it would be better for all

        Liked by 8 people

  19. A great plan from a team of very qualified experts. If you can find Sturgeon she might listen but I very much doubt that, too far down the hole and intent on digging (her escape tunnel?). It’s quiet down there after all and you can’t get found out.

    It would be magnificent if they for once could hold their collective hand up and say, hey we were wrong and this idea is a game changer, let’s do it. It seems that this type of honesty and integrity is far removed from this group and their hangers on.

    Can enough political pressure be brought to bear to force this through? What’s the plan to get this out there and create the public demand?

    I might have missed this in the article or previous comments, but the impact on Tourism has a value that should be added in, as has the savings on cost of all the pier and jetty modifications to allow the CMAL mono-hulls in.

    Liked by 9 people

  20. Having followed up the links and references in the article and in the comments, particularly material from the Jimmy reid Foundation, my conclusion is that the currenr SNP government are an unmitugated didaster for Scotland with not just the ferries but the ports being in trouble and not functioning as they ought in any sensible country, and this is having severe impact on our stsua as a net-exporting nation.
    How we can change this, is not clear, apart from Independence , which the aforementioned Scotgov, does not seem interested in pursuing, We need to get rid of these charlatans (or more likely criminals, if you follow where the wasted money has gone).
    Will it be possible for the idea of a new Scottish Convention body to rule that the current Scotgov is not working in the interests of the people of Scotland and therefor should be replaced, It is hightime that happened.

    Liked by 7 people

  21. Back on the ferry question having had several cancelled today got me thinking a rare thing these days about the school run. A child on Iona has to make the 6.10 am ferry to Mull to get to school on Monday morning. They will then spend the week in the hostel to attend Oban high school and return home on Friday night. They have two ferries each way twice a week to get an education. Children on other islands face the same or worse so the least we can do is provide a reliable modern service. Westminster do not know we exist and it looks like the Scottish Government wish we didn’t.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. The small isles kids are run by private charter boats which are more often sailing when the LOTI doesn’t sail to Canna, Rhum, Eigg or Muck, as the kids would often have to stay on the mainland at Mallaig if they went via Calmac

      Liked by 8 people

  22. Most of this seems sensible, except that the proposed vessels are too small for the Ullapool-Stornoway route. The largest vessel on your list takes 100 cars. That is considerably less than the Loch Seaforth (143 cars).
    The Ullapool-Stornoway route is booked up *weeks* in advance during the summer periods. It runs around the clock (which contributes to the number of breakdowns; no time for maintenance).

    Can you please explain how your proposal addresses this requirement?

    Like

      1. So now the ferry company needs 2 ferries to provide similar capacity.
        Double the crew.

        Not sure that is financially sensible.

        Like

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