The return of Arran's main ferry to the Ardrossan-Brodick route has been delayed until at least March, Caledonian MacBrayne has revealed.

MV vessel was supposed to be back on the route tomorrow (Thursday, January 25), after its annual overhaul.

But CalMac have now revealed the ferry will remain out of action for weeks as it requires more steel repairs.

That means the MV Isle of Arran - also currently out of action - could be the only ferry on the Ardrossan-Brodick route until March 6 at least.

It's the latest blow to hit the Arran ferry service in recent weeks, including cancellations due to storms and the Irish berth at Ardrossan being closed following a dive survey, which means the MV Alfred - the temporary replacement for the Caledonian Isles - can't operate out of Ardrossan.

On top of that, the MV Isle of Arran has been sidelined too after a fault on the main starboard engine on the 40-year-old vessel was discovered when essential maintenance was carried out while the ferry was out of action during the storm.



Thankfully, the part needed to repair the MV Isle of Arran has now arrived, and engineers are working on the vessel today, with sea trials expected to be carried out on Wednesday morning.

A CalMac spokesperson said: "MV Caledonian Isles will not return to service on Ardrossan-Brodick as planned on January 25.

"As part of the surveys required for renewal of the vessel's class certification, an increased scope of steel repairs and renewals beyond those originally planned have been identified.

"This will require an extension of the planned annual overhaul schedule. We are engaged with all relevant stakeholders to evaluate all options for the required repairs and will provide an update once this plan has been finalised.

"Up to March 6, MV Isle of Arran will operate the core single vessel timetable.

"Plans from March 7 onwards will be confirmed once we have a confirmed timeline for repairs to be completed on MV Caledonian Isles."

CalMac's statement also hints that there may be no return soon for MV Alfred, which had been providing additional capacity on the route during the Caledonian Isles' overhaul until the problems with the Irish berth at Ardrossan - thought to be the result of corrosion - were discovered on January 18.

It's the second winter in a row that the Caledonian Isles has been put out of action for a prolonged period after its annual overhaul had to be extended.

The vessel - which entered service in August 1993 - spent more than three months out of action between January and April of 2023 because of damage to both its engines that was found to be more serious than first realised.

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