Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil has repeated his numerous calls for MV Pentalina to be used on West coast routes.

Mr MacNeil has pressed many times over the last three months for the vessel to be trialled, prior to the current difficulties with MV Loch Seaforth.

He is also questioning the role of Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), a wholly owned public corporation of the Scottish Government, which owns the ferries, ports, harbours and infrastructure for the ferry services on the west coast.

Mr MacNeil said: “Quite clearly the MV Pentalina is now a boat that will have to become a feature on the West coast as I have been saying for quite a number of months now, and calling for a trial even before the latest difficulties with the MV Loch Seaforth.

“In my dealings around the ferry issues, I really have to question what the point is of CMAL other than to complicate and to put in an extra layer that is definitely not required. I don’t think it was ever required and it certainly isn’t required now. The Scottish Government should look to save money and abolish CMAL perhaps. This money could be used for the outright purchase of MV Pentalina.”

Mr MacNeil has written several times to Transport Scotland on the potential use of MV Pentalina and has been in correspondence with Calmac on this matter as well as regular dialogue with local businesses and constituents who have raised concerns directly with him.

In response to his correspondence, Transport Scotland have now asked Calmac to include the use of MV Pentalina in the dry dock review and in response to further correspondence from Mr MacNeil, Calmac have said the vessel may be deployed as short term relief in the winter.