Cowal Games tomorrow
For the town center service tomorrow (Cowal Games Saturday, August
27th) there is going to be an unholy combination of (a) unsuitable
vessels (b) inexperienced shore and ship based staff (c) large numbers
of passengers (d) passengers fuelled by alcohol (e) winds.
Both these last two factors are expected to worsen in the course
of the day and as of 6pm Friday it was expected to get up to 18mph
from the northwest by mid evening on Saturday, which would be when
many at Cowal Games are going home.
18mph winds (BBC weather calls it "breezy") would be
no problem for the vehicle-carrying ferries that until recently
ran on this route and for the kind of vehicle-carrying ferries that
should run on these routes.
They will be major problems for the passenger-only vessels that
have replaced the CalMac car ferries.
If the passenger-only Ali Cat and/or its companion vessel are cancelled
because of these conditions, it will cause chaos in the busiest
day in the year here. If this weather forecast holds and these ferries
run in these conditions, it will not just be the disabled, elderly
and children who will experience (at the very least) discomfort,
it will be the able-bodied as well. There are many who feel these
vessels are unsafe and unsuitable for the kinds of weather conditions
that are not unusual here - and indeed many feel these vessels are
unsuitable even under normal conditions. This is rejected by CalMac
(it is still CalMac behind the livery), the Government and the MCA.
If Government-owned CalMac, the Government and the MCA are right,
it does not stop people feeling fearful when they do use them, or
simply avoid using them altogether.
If Government-owned CalMac, the Government and the MCA are wrong,
then serious questions will be asked and individuals held to account
over this since there have been an abundance of warnings about the
unsuitability of these vessels both before and since these vessels
started this current service.
There will be those innocent visitors who will come tomorrow, use
these ferries and associated infrastructure and experience what
this SNP government has boasted is a "bigger and better"
Whatever happens tomorrow, I will guarantee that there will be
many of those using these ferries tomorrow who will vow never to
come back again to Dunoon, repeat visitors as well as first time
visitors. At a stroke this will cause significant and irreparable
financial and reputational damage to an economically and socially
vulnerable part of the West Coast of Scotland.
As someone who has publicly supported the SNP since was a student,
I have to say all this was avoidable and solely the responsible
of the SNP Government, the reasons for which are well documented
on the front page of this website.
Run an independent Scotland? How you can claim to be able to run
an independent Scotland when you can't even run a ferry service?
Neil Kay 6pm, Friday 26th August