Pi News –
The last sailing to and from Arran from the parking lot was scheduled for 4.25pm on Thursday.
The berth is the only space that can be used by the emergency ferry MV Alfred, which has been leased for £1m a month to cover ferry operator CalMac’s aging fleet.
Another berth is still operating and the second MV Isle of Arran ferry will continue to sail to Arran.
READ MORE: New concern from MSPs over lack of control over Scotland ferry fiasco
It’s the latest issue for Ardrossan, with CalMac planning to sail to Troon when the already long-delayed and over-budget new MV Glen Sannox ferry goes live.
This is because Ardrossan will not be ready to launch the ferry as it will not have storage facilities for the LNG that the ship will use.
CalMac said: “Following a diving investigation on the Irish coast at Ardrossan Harbour, the local harbor authority has advised all harbor users that they should stop using the Irish coast.”
It said the MV Alfred’s Friday sailings from Ardrossan at 8am, 11am and 4.25pm and Brodick at 9.30am, 12.30pm and 5.55pm have been cancelled.
CalMac has also warned that the following other sailings operated by the Isle of Arran MV may be interrupted or canceled at short notice due to inclement weather involving docking and departures at Ardrossan.
Finlay MacRae, CalMac’s head of operations, said the operator had been advised by port owner Peel Ports that the port would need to be closed for “critical inspections”.
He said: “Unfortunately this means we have had to withdraw the MV Alfred from service as the vessel is only suitable for an Irish berth.
“Any affected customers will be contacted and relocated to MV Isle of Arran when space permits. MV Isle of Arran will continue to operate the main Arran service from its main berth at Ardrossan to Brodick.”
Peel Ports apologized for the inconvenience but said safety must come first.
Scottish Conservative West of Scotland MSP Jamie Green said of the latest issue: “This is devastating news for Arran and Ardrossan. This development will come as no surprise to anyone wondering how Ardrossan and Arran have been treated by the SNP-Green Government.
“We now have a multi-million pound vessel to hire, which has cost hundreds of millions of pounds to build and is being prepared to replace the new Arran ferry that has yet to arrive, which itself cannot dock at the port it was built for. You couldn’t fix it if you tried.
“It is now impossible to land a temporary ship survey at a port that has not been invested in for decades and the SNP’s suspension of overdue upgrades is the latest blow to those on both sides of the Ardrossan to Arran ferry route .
“We need immediate clarity from CalMac about where the MV Alfred is going to port and assurances from SNP ministers about what they will do to make Ardrossan harbor fit for purpose.”
Scottish Government-run Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), which owns the country’s aging ferry fleet, signed a contract in early April 2020 for two stand-alone liquefied natural gas (LNG) stations for two long-delayed and over-budget lifeline ferries.
The project, awarded to Danish supplier Kosan Crisplant, involves the design and installation of the first LNG bunkering facilities at Uigda on the Isle of Skye in Scotland and Ardrossan on the North Ayrshire coast.
They were due to be completed in July 2022 to supply the Glen Sannox ships and sister ship MV Glen Rosa with LNG, which Kosan Crisplant said at the time was cleaner than any other fossil fuel.
But work on the project has yet to begin, and in August CMAL could not say when it would be completed.
The Danish supplier’s summer delivery completion date for the tanks was “early 2025” – after the last dates for delivery of the much-delayed and over-budget Glen Sannox vessels to Scottish government-controlled ferry operator CalMac. and the as yet unnamed Hull 802.
Due to problems with the storage tanks at Ardrossan, LNG has to be pumped from trucks to the ship at Troon.
CalMac acknowledges in its customer communications that truck-to-ship bunkering “is not considered a sustainable solution” to meet the long-term requirements of new vessels.
They say that the typical transfer speed is very slow – usually between two and two and a half hours for 20 tons. When the delayed fixed tank works, the time is reduced from 45 to 60 minutes.