ESSENTIAL maintenance work could see the Arran berth at Ardrossan Harbour closed for up to a fortnight later this month.

Peel Ports has announced that it will be temporarily closing the main berth from March 17, adding that passengers travelling to and from the island during that time are being made aware of contingency plans.

Services will operate from the Irish Berth at the harbour during the works, and the operators said that in the event this berth is unsuitable due to weather, services may be diverted to alternative mainland ports in Troon or Gourock.

Troon is currently undergoing upgrade works to prepare for the temporary relocation of the Arran ferry service and therefore full passenger facilities are not yet available.

Robert Morrison, Operations Director, said: "We will do everything we can to maintain a regular service for people travelling to and from Arran during this essential work.

"If services need to use an alternative port to Ardrossan during this period, we will let passengers know as soon as possible through our regular service updates on our website and social media channels."

Mark Sinnamon, Clydeport’s head of engineering, said: “We are investing a substantial amount in this maintenance and it’s vital we do that to make sure that the linkspan is fit for the summer.

"If we didn’t carry out the work during the off-season, the risk is that the ferry could be disrupted for months at the worst possible time for local businesses.

"We will work closely with CalMac to ensure ferry resilience during this time.”