Coronavirus: Scottish ferry to be deep-cleaned after three crew test positive

An islands ferry is to be deep-cleaned after three crew members tested positive for Covid-19.

The MV Isle of Lewis, which sails between Barra and Oban, has returned to Oban without any passengers. Pic: Wikimedia Commons
The MV Isle of Lewis, which sails between Barra and Oban, has returned to Oban without any passengers. Pic: Wikimedia Commons

The MV Isle of Lewis, which had been sailing between Barra and Oban, had to make its way back to Oban without any passengers.

Operator Caledonian MacBrayne said it would be deep cleaned by a specialists.

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The firm's operations director, Robert Morrison, said a relief crew would be brought in to operate the vessel when it returns to service.

He said: "Three crew members from the MV Isle of Lewis have received positive tests for Covid- 19.

"In line with strict procedures, the vessel was returned from Barra to Oban without passengers and will undergo a deep clean by a specialist company.

"A relief crew is being brought in to operate the vessel once it returns safely to service.

“CalMac crew work in strict bubbles in order to protect passengers and colleagues but anyone concerned about potential symptoms should check the NHS Inform website.”

CalMac said it was operating a combined Castlebay/Lochboisdale service for people travelling to Barra on Sunday afternoon.

The move comes after a union warned that workers on CalMac ferry services could go on strike after recent pay talks broke down.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union is preparing to ballot staff for industrial action after two previous rounds of pay negotiations with the ferry firm.

A meeting with managing director Robbie Drummond and other trade unions is understood to have taken place on Friday, after which RMT said the company had failed to accept the offer which amounts to a pay cut for ferry crews and other workers.

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