Local News for Thursday 19th January 2017
Ferry pulled off route for ‘essential repairs’
The MV Lord of the Isles is to be withdrawn from service from Monday, after maintenance checks discovered an area of thinning metal which needs urgent repair. Severe weather on the route between Lochboisdale, Mallaig and Oban is blamed for the wear, which will mean complete suspension of that route for at least a week. South Uist passengers are being urged to use extra services across the Sound of Barra, and to travel to the mainland from Castlebay on the MV Isle of Lewis. Robert Kelso, CalMac's Fleet Technical Manager, said "The ship's steelwork is inspected to a 5-yearly fixed schedule under MCA rules and wasn't due to be looked at again until the end of this year. However, due to the severe weather conditions in which our ships operate, the onboard engineers do routine inspections in-between the formal one, and the latest of these just before Christmas found a small section which needed repair. We were keen to avoid taking the ship out of the water during the busy Christmas holiday period so agreed with the MCA that the work could be deferred until early in the New Year. We cannot say how long the repairs will take until the work has been formally assessed and scoped but we will do everything we can to get her back into service as soon as possible. In the meantime, we apologise for any inconvenience caused." Lord of the Isles will make her usual run to Oban on Monday morning, but will then be taken to dry dock in Greenock. Additional early morning and late evening services are being put in place on the Sound of Barra while the repair work is carried out.
Read more: Local News for Thursday 19th January 2017
Local News for Wednesday 18th January 2017
GPS message in a bottle from Iceland
A digital message in a bottle has taken almost exactly a year to travel from south-west Iceland to the Hebrides, and is now bobbing about off the west coast of South Uist. The yellow capsule, containing a GPS transmitter, is one of two released into the sea as a science experiment by an Icelandic TV station. Aevar the scientist launched the two capsules on January 10th last year, to show children how rubbish released into the sea creates problems far from where it is dumped. One ‘bottle’ has already washed up in Tiree, after skirting Mingulay and Barra to get there, and was picked up by Tiree resident Rhoda Meek. The second remains adrift off the Western Isles, and is still sending out bleeps showing its position. You can track the bottle in case it washes up near you, by following the link on our Facebook page. http://www.verkis.is/gps
Read more: Local News for Wednesday 18th January 2017