Following completion of repair work and successful sea trials, the Maid of Glencoul is expected to be back providing a ferry service across the Corran Narrows in Lochaber in the coming days.
Chair of the Environment and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Ken Gowans said:
“Now the sea trials have been completed and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency have issued certification the ferry will be on its way back to Lochaber shortly.
“On arrival, the ramps need to be recommissioned and then she will be ready to resume a vehicle and passenger ferry service.”
“I would like to thank all of our staff and interim service contractors for their work and also pay tribute to the communities who have worked with us patiently while the temporary arrangements have been in place.”
Work to repair the main vessel, the MV Corran continues.
The first shipment of critical parts has arrived from the supplier Voith, based in Germany.
The damage to the Crown Gear has meant that a new one must be recast.
The Council is making all efforts to expedite the delivery of this part, but there are complex supply chain challenges and the MV Corran is not expected to be back in service until the end of June 2023 at the earliest.
In the meantime, the Council has arranged for mitigation measures to be put in place to support the Maid of Glencoul service.
This includes temporary road signage and speed limits, a clearway order on the adjacent A82, and marshalling area staff on the ground to manage traffic.
A request is also being made for all cars to be removed from the access roads and ferry queues.
The temporary foot passenger service from Ardgour to Fort William town pier will end, as will the temporary fast RIB for foot passengers at the Corran Narrows and the associated shuttle bus service that has been in place.
Cllr Ken Gowans added:
“The Maid of Glencoul has less capacity for vehicles than the main vessel so we expect queues to form at peak travel times.
“Drivers will have assistance from the queue marshals and there is also the option to use the alternative road route around Loch Linnhe.”
Chair of the Lochaber Committee, Cllr Kate Willis added:
“While we seek consideration from the public with the mitigation measures, especially in terms of the temporary speed limit, I would like to emphasise that the peninsulas and surrounding area are very much open for business and we welcome visitors to the area as usual as we enter the summer season.”