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CalMac reiterates support for Arran, Ardrossan and Troon communities

CalMac has reiterated its commitment to serving local communities on Arran and across Ayrshire.

The ferry operator has provided an update on its plans to minimise disruption on its service between Ardrossan and Brodick due to the closure of the Irish berth at Ardrossan harbour.

CalMac is to trial berthing MV Isle of Arran, which currently serves the Ardrossan-Brodick route, at Troon. The trial will take place on Wednesday 7 February and, if successful, CalMac will trial operating the service from Troon. The Master of the vessel has advised that adverse weather forecast in the coming days, with strong easterly winds, may mean the vessel cannot berth at Ardrossan. CalMac is committed to maintaining the service throughout adverse weather. Gourock has also been discounted as an option with the predicted weather, and for us being able to deliver as much service as possible with the shorter passage time between Brodick and Troon rather than Brodick and Gourock.

CalMac's commitment, and the news of the Troon trial, follows the announcement from Peel Ports that it is permanently closing the Irish berth at Ardrossan harbour. CalMac has been using the berth for MV Alfred, a vessel owned by Pentland Ferries which has been used to add resilience on the Ardrossan-Brodick route.

CalMac chief executive, Robbie Drummond, said: "The sudden closure of the Irish berth at Ardrossan harbour is symptomatic of the lack of investment - which has long been promised but never delivered - at the port.

"Everyone at CalMac, who is committed to delivering a reliable ferry service to travellers on Arran and the mainland, shares in the local community's disappointment at the decision. That's why we're not standing still and have been working hard on contingency plans since the Irish berth was closed for inspection in January to build resilience on the route.

"With our partners, we've accelerated efforts to prepare Troon and to minimise disruption to the service to and from Arran. That includes carrying out weekend works at Troon to help launch a commercial service quickly, which is supplementing the main Ardrossan-Brodick route. We're also running additional services from Lochranza to Claonaig.

"We want to build on this, and work is ongoing to do just that. We're recruiting extra staff for Troon so that we can continue to efficiently run a service from both ports."

CalMac confirmed the trial will lead to a service cancellation on Wednesday, with customers booked on being informed. CalMac has advised only pre-booked cars and foot passengers to attend Troon.

CalMac has also confirmed that MV Caledonian Isles will require an increased scope of steelwork repairs. The need for the work was identified during the vessel's annual overhaul. MV Caledonian Isles is due to move to Cammell Laird dockyard near Birkenhead later this week, where the full scope and timeline for repairs will be confirmed. The vessel operates on the Ardrossan-Brodick route and entered overhaul on 4 January. An update on timescales for the vessel's return will be given once inspections have taken place when she is back in dry dock.

Robbie added: "It is a team effort to provide ferry services, and we'll continue to engage with all key stakeholders along the route as we prepare for a new ferry to serve the route later this year. That includes the Arran Ferry Committee, who we are meeting quickly and who continue to provide us with valuable advice, feedback and support."

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