Dave Thompson, SNP MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoc, has already written to CalMac Ferries about their proposed new ferry provisions.
He is insistent that it is not acceptable to attempt to solve an Oban-Mull service frequency problem at the expense of the Mallaig-Armadale service.
The MSP says: ‘As I have mentioned before, the increased frequency of sailings is to be welcomed, however I am concerned that there is an Oban/Mull problem being solved at the expense of Mallaig/Armadale service. This must not be allowed to happen.
‘Part of the proposals include re-deploying the MV Coruisk to the Oban-Craignure route to meet the expected significant increase in demand as a result of RET.
‘However the same significant increase in demand applies equally to the Mallaig-Armadale route. Therefore, the MV Coruisk should stay where it is, supplemented by the Lord of the Isles. I back the Sleat Transport Forum with their efforts in this regard. A separate alternative solution must be found for the Oban/Mull service.
‘If a new vessel cannot be built in the short term, chartering should be considered and in the longer term, we should give thought to building a new vessel, possibly a hybrid one. This of course would require upfront costs but the new vessel could also be tendered for and hopefully then built at Fergusons yard, with the prospect that such a vessel could be designed to have a much lower operating cost.
‘It is necessary, given the wider goal of improvements for all, that CalMac, and the Scottish Government, give further consideration to these matters prior to the implementation of the new timetable’.
Anyone wold admire the energetic commitment of a constituency MSP to his territory =- and Mr Thompson’s core argument about the robbing of Peter to support Paul is a sustainable position.
However he undermined himself in remarks which betray the fact that his understanding of ferry operations is less than expert.
Running his flag up the pole of building another hybrid vessel and saying at the same time that such a vessel could be designed to have a much lower operating cost is technically a contradiction in terms.