Island Princess back in action

The ferry service between Kilcreggan and Gourock is ‘fully operational’ again today (Wednesday) – nine days after the Island Princess hit a creel line.

The boat’s engine was damaged in the incident on April 30 and services were suspended, with coach transport arranged by operators Clydelink.

On Friday (May 4) the back-up boat Cailin Oir was brought into action, but it could only take 12 passengers at a time.

Last night (Tuesday) Cove and Kilcreggan Community Council heard that the boat had been ‘re-engined’ at Silvers Marine and was awaiting MCA approval before going back into service.

Chairman Nick Davies said he understood Clydelink were working to gain a passenger certificate for the Cailin Oir, but were awaiting documentation from England.

“I think they are doing their best,” he said: “It is not satisfactory and I am sure Clydelink would be the first to accept that. The issue is with SPT, who let this contract in the first place.”

George Freeman, who was re-elected to Argyll and Bute Council last week, said he was trying to lobby Scottish ministers on the subject, while council officials will be carrying out further checks in the next few days – the authority announced in February that pier staff would be made redundant.

“The gloves have really got to come off now,” he said: “There are concerns about the gangway and how the vessel is tying up.

“The whole process has been an absolute shambles. There can be criticism of Clydelink as well, but the main blame lies with SPT.”

Community councillor John Auld suggested that members should write to Transport Minister Keith Brown, asking him to meet Cllr Freeman and other local campaigners.

Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie met Mr Brown last week to discuss the issue, and her Inverclyde counterpart Duncan McNeil has also voiced concerns.

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