This morning (Sunday 7th April) services to Craignure were suspended because one of the timber fenders on the pier fell off. This is one of the heavy timbers that are there to absorb the impact of the ferry as it berths, and protect the structure of the pier from damage.
The fendering is designed to withstand heavy impact, but it seems this part has been neglected to such an extent that it can no longer remain upright under its own weight.
This comes just 10 days after we held a meeting with Council officers where we were assured that the pier was ‘fit for purpose’. However, if inspections and repair are so scant that a large section of fendering can simply fall away from the pier under its own weight, what confidence can we have in the rest of it?
This incident dramatically demonstrates the poor state of repair and chronic under-investment in Craignure Pier; a facility that generates £1.5 million in profit annually. It illustrates why Ships’ Masters are fearful of what might happen if they berth harshly in high winds. Seeing bits fall of the pier will do little for their confidence and nothing for service reliability.
In light of this incident we will be insisting that the Council carry out an urgent independent detailed inspection of all the fendering on Craignure Pier, and act urgently upon whatever recommendations it makes.