Corran ferry expected back in service in “mid October”.

Highland Council have issued the press release in response to our requests for clarity over whether the MV Corran will be back in service in time for the Mull Rally on October 13th – 15th. The short answer is maybe.

MV Corran is due to have finished dry-dock repairs this week, but then needs to complete sea trials and MCA inspection before steaming back to Loch Linnhe over the course of two days.

Highland Council say that they are putting plans in place to deal with the volume of competitor cars and crews that are expected to traverse around Loch Eil next weekend, in the highly-likely event that the ferry is not in service.

Here’s Highland Council’s press release in full:

Repairs Update as of today for week ending 24 Sept – 1 Oct 2023:

MV Corran repair timeline remains on schedule with target date for completion of all dry dock repair works this W/e 8 Oct.

  • The yard worked all weekend to replace ramp hinge bushes which required renewing after welding works.  This is ongoing to complete early this week.
  • After storm Agnes and severe wet weather, catch up work during good weather is ongoing this week to get the necessary coats of paint onto the car deck, including the new steel sections and ramps.
  • Electrical testing and snagging repairs are well underway and ongoing.
  • The propeller unit was transferred to Ardmaleish on Tuesday 26Sept and fitted on Wednesday 27 Sept.  Voith and Wartsila will return on Tuesday 03 October for commissioning of the unit.
  • Testing, any snagging works, and returning the vessel to the water as soon as possible will take place this week between the 2 – 9 October.

This will be immediately followed by – 

  • GKS-Marine (specialists in marine control systems) – steering health check on 10 October. 
  • MCA visit – Passenger Certificate renewal.
  • 1 day sea trial around the Isle of Bute area. 
  • 2 – 3 days sail back to Corran, Lochaber.
  • 1 day to fit ramps. 

With the schedule of works programmed as above, the timeline for the return of the MV Corranto service is mid-October. Weekly updates will continue to be issued as the repair work continues.

Maid of Glencoul 

Engineers are continuing to investigate a steering system issue to enable the Maid of Glencoul to return to service.  That work is underway, however a solution to the technical issue that caused the parts failure remains to be resolved and at time of writing we do not have a date for her return.

As soon as we have an indicative date, we will communicate this information to the public. It remains a priority to have both the MV Corran which is due for return mid-October and the Maid of Glencoul available for service as soon as possible – again weekly updates are being sought.

A861 alternative route

The design of the proposed 40mph speed limit is being taken forward asap.

Emergency Liaison Group (ELG) including Police Scotland, SFRS, Ambulance, met on Thursday 28 September to plan for the Mull Rally event 13-15 Oct due to the increased road users expected before, during and after the event. Competitors are likely to use the A861 on Wed 11/Thurs 12 and Monday 16 October and will be transporting their rally cars via trailers.

A new release will be issued and a warn and inform social media campaign will be programmed by The Highland Council in the lead up to the event to raise awareness of the increased road users, to plan-ahead and to allow extra journey time.  Police Scotland will liaise with CalMac regarding route availability. Other mitigations that are in place due to the Corran Ferry foot passenger service including free recovery, extended lay-bys, increased signage and reduced speed limits will remain in place. 

Passenger Service

The passenger ferry services across the narrows and from Fort William to Ardgour continue to be well used.  

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