Letter To CalMac In Response to Recent Press Release

Thank you for the update and press release on the MV Clansman continuing dry-dock issues.
While everyone understands the logistical and technical difficulties that CalMac is dealing with, and the limited options available to the operations staff. there are nevertheless a number of questions that the community and travelling public would want Tiree Community Council to ask.
1. It is impossible to imagine that any amount of careful or judicious management of traffic will overcome the capacity issues that will be faced by continued deployment of MV Lord of The Isles during the upcoming peak weeks. Indeed, as you point out in your comments there has already been considerable disruption to the Oban-Coll-Tiree service leading up to Easter and continuing onwards to this day.
2. Despite constant assurances from CalMac that MV Clansman would be returning to the Oban-Coll-Tiree route following dry-dock repairs, the already weeks old rumours that the MV Clansman would in fact be deployed by CalMac management to the Uig-Tarbert-Lochmaddy service are now confirmed as entirely accurate. While Tiree Community Council do not wish to put ourselves in the position of debating the merits or otherwise of ship deployments to other Scottish islands, we do question the logic of deploying the MV Clansman to the Uig triangle route, when the vessel will clearly and most obviously be required on the Oban-Coll-Tiree route to meet expected demand. Are the needs of the travelling public, businesses and communities of Tiree and Coll of less importance than any other island community or route?
3. What options have been explored to schedule additional services to Coll-Tiree utilising existing Oban based vessels?
4. What progress is the Transport Minister and Transport Scotland making in their lengthy search for a suitable relief vessel, which would overcome many of the problems that are now being experienced, not only Oban-Coll-Tiree, but right across the network?
5. Tiree Community Council continue to receive far above average complaints of chaotic CalMac customer relations when dealing with customers regarding cancelled sailings, inaccurate information and a `could not care less’ attitude. Can Tiree Community Council ask that an urgent appraisal of customer relations, both quality and effectiveness is urgently undertaken.
6. I note that the CalMac press release makes mention of “major changes” and goes on to
specify the communities that will be affected. However we are astounded that neither Tiree or Coll are mentioned even one single time in this press release, presumably as senior management are either unaware or simply do not care about the communities of Tiree and Coll who are suffering the greatest loss from the MV Clansman’s absence.
Tiree Community Council would wish that CalMac look far more seriously at putting in place proper mitigation during the enforced absence of MV Clansman, rather than what appears to be a cursory glance at the needs of the communities of Tiree and Coll. There must clearly be fairness and equality, and in this instance it is clear to us that our communities are not receiving fair treatment.
I would be grateful Finlay if you would treat this submission from Tiree Community Council as a formal complaint to the company, and ensure that it reaches the appropriate level of management.
Thank you.
Best regards,
Ian Gillies,
Tiree Community Council