Ferry services disrupted

All of Argyll’s ferry services, except Western Ferries are disrupted today [14th December] because of strong southerly winds, gusting to gale force on the west coast. Argyll Ferries’ service between Gourock and Dunoon is currently suspended with a review at 11.00.

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29 Responses to Ferry services disrupted

  1. You will have to update your site as you wwill find that, Western Ferries are now suspended, as of 12:00 today.

    Can’t the cope with i bit of wind???

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 15

  2. I spotted a ferry leaving Oban this morning but unsure of its destination. The wind direction must have been favourable but it proves that CalMac tries to operate whenever it can.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

    • The Clansman (I think) headed for Tiree but turned back when it was unable to dock at Coll. Don’t envy anyone being on that journey. They set off around 11:30 and are now due back in Oban at 5pm.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

        • I sailed from Oban to South Uist a couple of times, heading into Force 9 Westerly gales. The bar wasn’t doing much trade and there were a several huge crashes involving dishes and cutlery in the kitchen area.

          I would suggest handrails to and from the toilet cublicles and inside them, too, for that matter. Having lived on islands a fair few years i am well used to ferriies and bad weather however I have never seen the like – our arrival at Barra was most welcome.

          After the second time, we chickened out and drove to round Uig in the winter but it’s a beautiful sail in the summer, especially, the bit from Castle Bay to Lochboisdale when the sun is setting.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • Maybe I’m wrong, but it was a vessel that looked like a ferry and I’m sure it was leaving rather than arriving. However, I could have been mistaken as it was quite a way out.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  3. One shouldn’t trash the ferry companies for cancelling their services for adverse weather. Whilst services can be compared and contrasted, there are innumerable variables which makes this exercise a tad tedious. Britons are now a nation of landlubbers and ‘elf and safety figures high in our conscience, so damage to goods, kith and kin are very much frowned upon by the great and good. bashing the terminals and destroying kit gets the MAIB knocking on the Operator’s, Owner’s and Master’s doors, with written warnings for all. Nobody likes writing reports about how it all went “tits up” :-)

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

    • I don’t think there was ever a period when Britons would have thought it a good idea to put to sea in this sort of weather if it could be avoided. Nothing to do with being a nation of landlubbers.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

      • Dover only closes in a force 10 upwards and swell running in at 1.5m so will remain operational in most circumstances. Furthermore, there will be ships slow steaming or hove to waiting to get in. Can’t remember the last time the Clyde shut down. Statistically, we are now tending to be landlubbers, with less personnel at sea than ever-before. But, agreed, it’s good to be bed ashore in this weather – landlubber or not.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  4. Western Ferries are operating three boats right now.

    Meanwhile, Calmac are tied up in Brodick, Rothesay and Largs. The Rothesay and Arran boats are showing real time wind speeds of 20 – 30 knots on their AIS reports, ie., not even at the bottom end of a gale. Vessels out in open water are showing the same.

    My relatives on Arran say they never, but never, divert to Gourock any more and stay tied up at any hint of strong winds. Things most definitely ain’t wot they used to be. Cut off by not even a full gale of wind.

    Latest: Caley Isles leaving for Ardrossan but berthing “not guaranteed” dependent upon sea conditions. So – is Gourock no longer an option for the Bute and Arran boats, sheltered though it is from prevailing wind and seas? Or are the Calmac boats not safe to operate in near gale force winds? Were they designed for Scottish weather?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

    • Naught to do with the ships – all conform to standard. Lumping all routes together as to why services are off is probably the wrong place to start. But yet, there could be validity in the reasoning, that CallyMac gets Government money and will still be paid if it says the routes and piers are weather bound. It’s perhaps too troublesome and time consuming for a Government official to collate and audit the stats to confirm or disprove their validity – nice work if you can get. No Macbrains in that one?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

    • If the Clansman’s anything to go by it’s not usually the sea conditions that are the issue so much as the docking conditions. There have been a fair few occasions when the sailing has been safe, if uncomfortable but it has been impossible to dock due to the swell. There have been occasions when ropes have snapped during unloading at Tiree and the ferry has had to head back. How many more risks do people want Calmac to take?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

      • The point is that the risk Calmac are taking with the Clyde services is to pretend that Wemyss Bay and Ardrossan are capable of providing all weather berthing facilities when plainly they cannot, never could and were never intended to.

        For well over a hundred years, Gourock has provided the sheltered bolt hole for Rothesay services, and for Arran ferries too since the closure of the well sheltered Fairlie pier from which ALL of Arran’s winter services sailed until the 1970s. Brodick and, especially, Rothesay are not usually where the problems occur.

        As others have pointed out, there is a positive incentive for Calmac NOT to sail in that the subsidy for that day (in most cases, substantially more than the fares collected) for sailings cancelled by reason of weather is still paid to them. On the other hand, there are substantial financial disincentives to diverting to Gourock (extra fuel, provision of connecting buses, shore based issuance of tickets at Gourock).

        When ferries stand idle leaving Arran and Bute cut off with winds blowing at only 20-odd knots, it’s reasonable to question – in a very wide sense – the design of the service.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • gourock is an option for the rothesay boats and is used fairly regularly in bad weather, however due to the direction and strength of the winds the boats could not turn safely at toward point hence the cancellation

      The Arran ferry still can use gourock but has not used it much recently, it strangely has used wemyss bay within the last year or so when it couldnt get into adrossan

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Interesting – was that Peel Ports (The Authority), Queens Harbour Master or individual operators calling time? Was that the Firth and River? Peel Ports has recently been criticised for operating in poor visibility

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

      • If the Arran boat is more and more reluctant to divert from Ardrossan, it makes me wonder whether anything could be done to sort out the ridiculously vulnerable configuration of the harbour entrance – it would presumably cost serious money, but Arran’s not Ailsa Craig, and as Ardrossan faces the prevailing weather it should be designed accordingly.
        Even Aberdeen seems unfit for purpose, so it’s probably beyond the vision of modern government to get these things fixed, unfortunately.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

          • Interesting – the tight turn, and that amount of swell into the berth, speak volumes for why there’s so much disruption at Ardrossan.
            Up at the top of Norway the harbour at Berlevag on the exposed Barents Sea coast has been protected by big breakwaters (also to provide safe berthing for the Hurtigruten service).
            This sort of investment in infrastructure makes sense – the crane barge that placed the concrete tetrapods at Berlevag was brought up from Haifa, where the main breakwater was extended for the same reason, and the locals in Berlevag are very, very proud of their harbour.
            Not a lot to be proud of at Ardrossan.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

          • This is a routine occurrence at Ardrossan. I’ve been on board often enough when it’s happened (and much worse) and not only in the winter.

            Given the options within the un-used and sprawling harbour, you could hardly pick a worse spot for the ferry berth and linkspan but, as with so many aspects of our ferry services, it’s an accident of history, occupying a spot determined in the late 1960s by the existing railway layout and the conflicting requirements of the, then, busy port, and now permanently cemented (literally) by very substantial investment in car parks, marshalling areas, waiting rooms and the electrified rail link.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  5. We are never going to get an all weather service…those of us who choose to iive out on the isles or visit the isles have to accept this…
    This article is simply a notification that one should expect disruptions…skippers decision is final…end of story.
    http://www.windguru.cz/int/index.php?sc=47805
    Wind aside…which is looking bad for the next week for Tiree and Coll…the swell for the next 7 days is also not looking favourable for the berthing of a ferry in Gott Bay. Ref: Grib files.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

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