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The ferry services to most of the Western Isles are at a complete standstill this morning, beset by breakdowns, delayed maintenance work and port closures. 

And bad weather is not involved at all! 

This came after CalMac announced that divers were needing to attend MV Hebrides berthed at Lochboisdale to clear an obstruction in their propeller. An update will be given at 10am today (Saturday 4 February.)

As a result the following sailings are cancelled: "Depart Lochboisdale 06:30 Depart Ullapool 13:30 An update will be given as soon as we have more information."  

The service to Oban from Lochboisdale is also under threat if the MV Hebrides has to remain berthed in Lochboisdale. 

Lochboisdale ferry travellers – so often left without any ferry service at all in the past 18 months or more – thought they would have the unusual choice of whether to sail on ferries to Ullapool or Oban this weekend.

This is because, after having removed Tarbert from the ferry timetable for two months, lost a ship serving the southern isles and lost another from the Sound of Harris, CalMac yesterday (Friday 3 February) announced another cut in service offered to the islands.

The port of Lochmaddy is closed this weekend while Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s contractors continue work on the pier and terminal redevelopment.

That means that until late on Monday afternoon MV Hebrides was expected to run from Lochboisdale to Ullapool, berthing overnight in the South Uist harbour.

In turn that was going to knock into the timetable of the MV Isle of Mull, operating a split service between Castlebay and Lochboisdale to Oban.

So for now, Saturday morning,  there are no vehicle ferry services operating from the isles of North Uist, South Uist and Harris. 

That's because there's no car ferry available to provide the Sound of Harris service. Foot-passengers are crossing the Sound of Harris in batches of up to 12 with Uist Sea Tours, landing not at the CalMac slipways but at Berneray’s fish pier and the pontoon in Leverburgh.

For full details of service changes see 

Elsewhere CalMac told the people of Islay that: "Due to a delay with the overhaul programme, MV Finlaggan will continue to operate a single vessel timetable up to and including 16 February and will be subject to continual review."