A short-term charter has been agreed for the MV Arrow to provide additional services on the Stornoway-Ullapool ferry route.
The vessel will operate a number of overnight freight sailings, allowing the MV Loch Seaforth to provide additional passenger sailings at busy times over the peak summer period.
The MV Arrow completed berthing trials over the weekend and CalMac will confirm details of its deployment shortly.
Minister for Transport Graeme Dey said:
“The charter of the MV Arrow means we will see more services between Stornoway and Ullapool, as we look to help Lewis and Harris emerge from the COVID pandemic.
“It will bring additional capacity to this key route during the busy summer period, by allowing CalMac to free up the Loch Seaforth to let more passengers and their vehicles travel.
“It will also increase freight capacity.
“We recognise communities’ frustration at the recent disruption and the impact it is having. “We are doing everything that we can, supporting CalMac to maximise available capacity across the network.
“The Scottish Government will continue to engage with ferry operators and island stakeholders on issues impacting the recovery of the island economies from the impact of the COVID pandemic.”
Robert Morrison, Operations Director for CalMac, said:
“We have been working closely with Transport Scotland to investigate the feasibility of leasing extra vessels, and the addition of the MV Arrow is extremely welcome.
“The chartering of the MV Arrow will help provide much-needed resilience at a time when COVID restrictions remain in place and there is high demand for spaces on board our ferries.”