Wednesday, 7 June 2006

Boats, boats, boats

<![CDATA[ MV Isle of Lewis docked at Stornoway in April 2006The ferry Isle of Lewis did not sail on Wednesday, because 8 members of staff and an unknown number of passengers were struck down by a virus. This problem arose on Monday, but the ferry sailed normally on Tuesday. According to passengers coming off the ferry at Stornoway, the bar, the small cafeteria were both closed, but the main restaurant was open and serving food.

Today's cancellations meant massive inconvenience for travellers to the isles. Alternative sailings were laid on between Skye and Harris, but I know of at least one person who had to cancel their trip altogether, as it is impossible to travel from Inverness to Uig (Skye) within 3 hours. The two places are 130 miles apart. I don't understand why the replacement ferry Lord of the Isles couldn't sail the extra 40 miles to Stornoway, but I'm sure Calmac had their reasons.

The causative virus has not been formally identified, but a prime candidate is the novovirus, commonly known as the winter vomiting bug. The ship is being deep cleaned today, and a fresh crew will join her Thursday morning to resume normal service.

News came through via the MCA website that the fishing vessel Dunan, operating out of Carloway, had struck rocks some 15 miles outside this small port on the westcoast of Lewis. A mayday call was put out, and rescue teams from Miavaig and Breasclete were despatched to the scene. Other vessels also responded to the mayday call and made their way to the site of the incident. The coastguard helicopter dropped pumps to assist in pumping out water. No further news was forthcoming at time of writing (8pm on Wednesday)

MV Hebridean Princess (left) and MV Normand Master (right) at no 3 pier at 4pm on TuesdayYesterday, Tuesday, saw a procession of ships in and out of Stornoway. The Hebridean Princess, a luxury cruiseliner, made an afternoon & evening call; the Norwegian registered Normand Master, a tug and supply vessel, docked at no 3 pier, and a vessel working for the Northern Lighthouse Board carried out maintenance on the buoy off Arnish Point. ]]>

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