The crisis for ferry travellers aiming to reach Harris and North Uist from Skye deepened tonight after Caledonian MacBrayne announced that all sailings are cancelled on the Lochmaddy and Tarbert routes on Monday "due to a technical issue."
The issue involved the mv Hebrides developing a fault which meant it failed to come alongside the pier in Lochmaddy and instead ploughed on straight past it, finally colliding with part of a yacht marina and the seabed itself.
Investigations on the vessel are ongoing and an update will be provided as soon as more information becomes available, the ferry company says.
All customers with bookings will be contacted to arrange an alternative sailing. Passengers for Harris are advised to use the Stornoway - Ullapool service as an alternative route. "We are sorry for the disruption caused to our customers," the CalMac statement said.
Passengers to and from North Uist are being advised to use the Lochboisdale-Mallaig service as an alternative route. There will be additional sailings on the Lochboisdale-Mallaig service tomorrow to provide extra alternatives for passengers. These are:
Depart Lochboisdale - 07:00 (as normal) Arrive Mallaig - 10:30
Depart Mallaig - 10:50 (additional sailing) Arrive Lochboisdale - 14:20
Depart Lochboisdale - 14:40 (additional sailing) Arrive Mallaig - 18:10
Depart Mallaig - 18:30 (delayed 17:30) Arrive Lochboisdale - 22:00
Six crossings have be cancelled in the Mallaig to Armadale route as a result. These are
Depart Mallaig - 11:00, 13:30 & 15:20
Depart Armadale - 12:30, 14:35 & 16:35
There will be additional sailings from Mallaig at 08:30 and from Armadale at 09:15.
CalMac's Operations Director Drew Collier said: "We are doing everything possible to ease disruption for our customers and apologise for the undoubted inconvenience which is being experienced,
"We are grateful for the support, patience and understanding we have received from passengers and we ask that our customers continue to bear with us while we work to sort out the best alternatives possible. The safety of our passengers, crew and vessel is paramount and everyone can be assured that a full formal investigation is underway."
The company is speaking directly to customers affected to ensure that the best alternatives for them are made.
Customers should continue to check CalMac's website www.calmac.co.uk and social media channels for any further updates.