Comment posted Baillie angered by SPT failure to act on duty of care for ferry users by .

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7 Responses to

  1. Newsroom – just worth noting that the Sea Change Festival is in Cove & Kilcreggan rather than Rosneath. This makes your point even more pertinent as some of the Festival events will be taking place on the very pier the ferry comes into.

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    • This was a casual use of ‘Rosneath’ as the name for the peninsula rather than the village – and your point has conveniently prevented a repetition of this confusion in an article we are preparing for publication on the Sea Change Festival. Thank you.

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  2. The new ferry is an accident waiting to happen. The very steep steps and only ropes on the gangway offer little confidence to older people.
    How on earth this passed Health & Safety beats me.
    The Seabus was excellent in every way offering a first class service for those wishing to connect with the trains and other ferries.
    When winter comes, given the times it has been off already, those reliant on this service will face challenges.
    I am sure they have broken the terms of their contract therefore SPT should step back in and give the Peninsula folk a service fit for purpose…..because this very clearly is not.

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    • Why do you say pontoons will not survive a storm frequentferryuser? We are going to get pontoons in Dunoon, they are supposed to be marvelous things. They solve all problems, no matter how small your ferry and how big your seas a pontoon will be the answer. Very reasonably priced too I cannot remember how much ours are going to be £2M, £3M a real bargain.

      There was mention of Transport Scotland running your service instead of SPT, that sounds a bit like an out of the frying pan and into the fire situation. Transport Scotland may know how to keep roads free of snow in winter, but ferries – no chance.

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  3. THE operator of a publicly funded ferry service on the Clyde Estuary could face criminal charges for employing crew that were not adequately trained, The Herald has learned

    The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) is considering whether to bring a prosecution against Clydelink after an investigation revealed the skipper of the Island Princess, which plies the Kilcreggan to Gourock route, was not qualified to be in charge of a vessel carrying more than 12 passengers.

    The incident will heap further pressure on Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) to find a replacement operator – and justify the procurement process which led to Clydelink taking over the service on April 1.

    After three days of being restricted to carrying no more than 12 passengers – leaving dozens stranded or facing lengthy replacement bus detours – the ferry returned to its normal seating capacity of 75 yesterday.

    The MCA said the vessel’s skipper had undergone training earlier in the week and had received the required certificate on Thursday after being tested by an MCA examiner.

    However, a spokesman said the MCA was now considering whether to bring charges over the incident.

    He said: “[Clydelink] could be liable to prosecution. This is being looked at.”

    The award of the ferry contract to Clydelink has saved more than £200,000 in annual subsidies for SPT, a council-run transport body, largely due to axeing the Helensburgh stop.

    Prior to taking over, the firm had promised to invest in a new 60-seat vessel, but eventually bought a 16-year-old vessel, the Island Princess.

    Local politicians said there now appeared to be clear grounds for terminating the contract with Clydelink and called on SPT to consider finding a replacement operator.

    Guidance notes produced by SPT in October 2011, before the contract was signed, advised that it could be terminated “unless otherwise determined by SPT” for a number of grounds, including if “any person employed by the operator does not have a valid qualification or licence as required for the nature of the contract or the type of vessel used”.

    Stuart McMillan, SNP MSP for the West of Scotland, said: “There may well be reasons for the contract to be terminated.”

    Jackie Baillie, the Labour MSP for Dumbarton, is due to meet SPT’s chief executive Gordon Maclennan on Wednesday, with Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Duncan McNeil, to raise concerns over the service.

    Ms Baillie said: “If this company can’t deliver a service – and the early evidence would suggest it can’t – then the contract should be stopped and re-tendered.”

    Around 30% of sailings have not met contractual terms since April 1 due to breakdowns, weather or MCA restrictions. It is thought that evidence the ferry has been operated illegally would make it harder for SPT to continue with Clydelink.

    A spokeswoman for the transport body said: “SPT constantly monitor patronage of all supported services to ensure that scarce financial resources are used where they are most required.”

    Clydelink was not available to discuss whether it would face criminal charges.

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