Local News for Monday 6th August 2018
‘Stormy Seas’ Over Lifeline Ferry Services.
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant who has been fighting on behalf of the Communities and Businesses of the Western and Argyll Isles to get the Scottish Government and its fully owned companies, Calmac and CMAL, to provide the lifeline service that it is supposed to be providing.
Rhoda Grant MSP said, " I warned of a Summer of Discontent and now it is here. We have seen a complete disregard for the communities of the Western Isles and a fudging of the term lifeline service.
The MSP added, "People are sick fed up of the buck being passed from SNP ministers to CMAL to Calmac to Transport Scotland and just want a ferry service that is in line with the lifeline provision it is supposed to be. The simple fact is that the ferry links have no capacity and the Scottish Government is refusing to do anything about it. Worse is that they do not gather data on unmet need, we have no idea of the number of people who wish to travel but cannot.
Mrs Grant added, "We have a situation that a freight ferry on the Stornoway to Ullapool route was already deployed and working well. This was then withdrawn without any consultation and the onus placed on the passenger ferry to run once a day for freight. This then has the obvious impact of not allowing the MV Loch Seaforth the option to run 3 sailings in the busy times.”
The MSP concluded, "Outer Hebrides Tourism who are desperately trying to maintain the tourist sector of the Islands fragile economy have written to me highlighting their concerns because people are cancelling bookings because they cannot travel. It is also incredulous to think that islanders cannot have relatives attend funerals, have their businesses put in jeopardy.
MCA New Proposals for Pleasure Vessels
Members of the boating community are being encouraged to ‘have their say’ on the Maritime & Coastguard Agency’s new Code of Practice for Intended Pleasure Vessels and its supporting Guidance Notices as well as some new Exemptions. The public consultation runs until the 26 September.
The Code of Practice for Intended Pleasure Vessels (IPV Code) and its supporting Guidance Notices – which will be introduced on 1 January 2019 - addresses temporary commercial use either for business purposes or as a race support boat. The MCA is urging the boating community to read through the proposals on how they plan to make the water a safer place for everyone while giving the opportunity to legitimately operate commercially on a temporary basis for certain activities..
Additionally, the MCA is replacing Marine Guidance Notice 538 on Pleasure Vessels which introduces exemptions that mark a significant positive step for the Pleasure Vessel manufacturing sector in the UK and phases out the use of ORC life rafts. Once the external consultation has closed on 26 September, the MCA will draft a final set of proposals of the new IPV Code. Any new development changes within the Code will be published accordingly.
More information about the public consultation can be found on the MCA website at www.mca.gov.uk