‘Serious deficiencies’ were found on the Kilcreggan to Gourock ferry when it was inspected by the MCA this week.
Clydelink suspended the service on Wednesday afternoon for ‘technical reasons’, and the 12-minute crossing on the Island Princess has been replaced by 50-mile trips on a minibus since then.
An MCA spokesperson said: “As part of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency’s ongoing survey and inspection regime, the Clydelink-operated vessel Island Princess was re-inspected by surveyors from the Glasgow Marine Office on Wednesday September 13.
“At this time the a number of serious deficiencies were noted on board the vessel.
“As a result of this inspection, the vessel was issued with a prohibition notice and withdrawn from service by the operator.”
The incident comes just three months after a previous MCA inspection in which 30 separate problems were found.
This is the fifth problem to hit the service since Clydelink’s new contract with Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT)came into effect on April 1:
- In June the service was withdrawn for several days after an MCA safety inspection
- In July there were no sailings for ten days following a breakdown.
- In August the boat could not sail at one point because of a crew shortage
- And on September 2 it was reduced to carrying 12 passengers, rather the contracted maximum of 65.
The annual subsidy is £247,999 – £87,807 more than under the previous contract with SPT but £60,000 less than a bid by Rosneath-based company Gareloch Support Services.
There is no indication of when the ferry will return to service, and SPT has not responded to a request for comment. The ferry service’s website does not appear to be operational.