Confusion over ferry service yet again

Mystery once again surrounds the operation of Kilcreggan’s ferry service to Gourock.

Angry passengers were left stranded on both sides of the Clyde this afternoon as sailings of the Island Princess were cancelled.

Operators Clydelink claimed this was ‘due to adverse weather’ but earlier winds had subsided by mid-afternoon and Argyll Ferries sailings to Dunoon were running to timetable.

Then at 7.30 tonight there were indications that the problem was very different, with tweets by Clydelink stating that tomorrow there would be sailings from Gourock at 45 and 15 minutes past the hour and from Kilcreggan on the hour and at half past.

The company added: “We anticipate normal service resuming early to mid morning tomorrow.”

There is no indication as to the reason for the timetable change and it could only make sense if the boat had once again failed to receive certification from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to operate as a class five passenger vessel, so can only carry a maximum of 12 people – it is common for more than 50 people to be aboard at busy times.

The boat also lost its certification in 2012 when the MCA found that its then master did not have the correct qualifications.

The last minute change to tomorrow’s sailings brings into question not only the earlier statements about weather conditions, but the decision in 2012 to reduce the number of daily sailings because of new berthing procedures which were said to have been imposed by the MCA.

If it is possible to have two return sailings per hour, then it is hard to understand the justification for the service being cut from 15 to 12 sailings per day.

This story will be updated if Clydelink respond to a request for clarification on these issues.


  1. Couid be that an MCA Recertificatio requires the Island Princess to be dry docked but with no back up boat only option is to create the new timetable with reduced passenger numbers. If I am correct SPT should find ClydeLink in breach of its contract.

  2. Surely Insurance Cover depends upon a valid MCA Certification. Also a commercial service must require some form of MCA Certification.

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