The 11-year-old MV Hallaig, presented as a “pioneering” diesel/electric ferry built for the Scottish Government-owned ferry operator was evacuated after a battery overheated on Thursday.

The fire brigade is understood to have been called to monitor the situation, as smoke was seen to have come from the vessel.

The service between Sconser and Raasay has been suspended since around noon on Thursday.

It is believed the breakdown left about 40 visitors stranded on Raasay. The breakdown also hit locals who had travelled to Skye on shopping trips.

It is understood that boats were picking up customers on either side of the crossing while the service has been suspended.

Dan Corigall, who runs Stardust Boat Trips, said he helped get one group of 12 off Raasay on Thursday night and criticised CalMac’s response.

CalMac has told users that a charter vessel had been brought in on Thursday and that there would be further support today (Friday).

The Herald:

CalMac has warned users that passenger numbers were “extremely limited” and that “travel is only recommended if necessary”.

Users were also warned that due to the nature of the charter access to the shore would be through the vessel’s ladder and that it might not be suitable for passengers with mobility issues.

Mr Corigall said people were stranded at Raasay for hours after what was thought to be a fire saying it was “disgraceful and not acceptable by any means”.

He said CalMac should be “ashamed” and said: “The way they have operated is very poor.”

There were also people in vehicles which were stuck.”

He said that one rib vessel was taking six people at atime across the ferry route and there were concerns about how people were able to get on and off the island going forward.

“It is a major problem and it doesn’t look good for CalMac. There were people standing there not knowing what is happening. There was nothing for them.”

It is believed that CalMac had chartered a rigid inflatable as a temporary relief vessel which ran till 9pm on Thursday.

A charter was also shuttling people on Friday while MV Loch Tarbert was being drafted in to cover.

The redeployment of MV Loch Tarbert is expected to have knock-on effect on the service between Kilchoan and Tobermory on Mull. A passenger only charter has been arranged as Mull prepares to hold its annual Mod festival this weekend.

The Herald:


The festival is a cultural feast of Gaelic music and song which takes place in September every year in Tobermory.

It encourages the use and development of the Gaelic language and music through solo, choral, oral and instrumental competitions.

A CalMac spokeswoman has said: “Whilst alongside in Raasay, the crew of MV Hallaig were alerted to a cell overheating within the hybrid battery bank.

“The crew acted promptly and professionally, evacuating all passengers and vehicles.

“Scottish Fire and Rescue attended and are currently monitoring the battery system. As a precaution, the system will continue to be monitored for the next hour before entry is made into the battery locker to allow further assessment.”

The MV Hallaig was hailed as the first of two roll-on, roll-off ferries that will run on diesel and electric power, leading to 20% lower emissions.

It was launched from the Ferguson shipyard in Port Glasgow after a £20 million investment in the green technology.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said when it was launched that it was a “great day for Clyde shipbuilding”.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *