Katy Clark MSP investigates collapse of Pentland ferries contract

LABOUR MSP Katy Clark has called for an explanation as to what happened to concerns raised about safety and on ministers to urgently intervene following the collapse of a contract between CalMac and Pentland ferries to lease a vessel for West Coast routes.

Clark said the Scottish Government must set out an immediate ferry plan to invest in Calmac services, after the deal fell through. She has previously raised concerns at Holyrood with Ministers about a race to the bottom on safety and terms and conditions on ferries.

Demanding an explanation from the government, Clark said: “Safety concerns had been raised by unions about a Pentland ferries catamaran which the Scottish Government had announced was to be leased and due to come into service on West Coast routes as an additional vessel to give relief in the current ferry crisis.

“The long term failure of the Scottish Government to have an adequate ferry plan to commission new vessels since 2007 has led to this crisis in West coast routes and to life line services. In the 14 years since 2007 12 ferries have been commissioned compared to 26 ferries of similar tonnage in the 14 years prior to 2007.”

Clark added: “As a result, we are now in a situation where we don’t have enough ferries for the network which has been compounded by the problems with the delayed two new ferries from Ferguson Marine.

“I am asking for an explanation from the Scottish Government on the safety concerns about the Pentland ferries vessel which I raised with them following concerns from the unions and for the Scottish Government to come forward with a ferry plan to invest in lifeline services. The current situation is unacceptable for those who rely on ferry services.”

Katy Clark has submitted written questions and has written a letter to the Minister for Transport Graham Dey.

Featured image shows the Pentalina Catamaran, which was being prepared for service on the Arran Brodick to Ardrossan route. Photo credit: Pentland Ferries