Repairs have begun on a CalMac ferry that crashed into Lochmaddy pier on Wednesday – leaving islanders without a service.
The hull of MV Hebrides, which serves Skye, Harris and Uist, was damaged as it collided with the pier while berthing during high tide.
However, the ferry provider has said it has not been possible to say when repairs will be complete and the vessel returned to service.
The ferry was moved to James Watt Dock in Greenock where a specialist team is in the process of inspecting and preparing to cut away the damaged sections.
It is hoped a completion date will be announced on Monday April 24, with the team working around the clock to fix the helm.
The pictures show the damage to MV Hebrides hull plating and internal structural damage to the vessel. Repair work is underway with 24hr working implemented to complete work as quickly as possible. Please see the following link for our full customer update https://t.co/13vPSXQbhA pic.twitter.com/2p79kGGG31
— CalMac Service Info (@CalMac_Updates) May 20, 2022
‘It just really is hopeless’
Though CalMac arranged services to try and cover those usually carried out by MV Hebrides, Western Isles Council said the chaos confirmed what many islands have feared for the last five years.
People living on North and South Uist are struggling with the loss of the service, especially since the latter’s usual ferry is also out of action for repairs.
Speaking to BBC’s Good Morning Scotland, Rupert Marshall, who runs a bed and breakfast on South Uist, said: “It just is really hopeless. We have lost our ferry service for over four months in the 12 months which seems unbelievable in any other situation.
“We have lost it for a week, and now we have have lost the North Uist ferry. We have, essentially, had no food deliveries for a few days now.”
CalMac is running an alternative timetable while repairs are ongoing, which can be found on their website.