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While the Waverley drama unfolded on Arran, a drama of a very different kind was happening in Ardrossan.
Passengers on the MV Caledonian Isles staged a mutiny after the captain planned to return to Brodick because it could not dock in Ardrossan due to the linkspan breaking down at the Arran berth. The Irish berth was also ruled out because of the weather.
Angry drivers staged a protest on the car deck and insisted they would refuse to unload their cars if the ferry returned to Brodick. At one point the police were called to the ferry terminal but did not intervene. It was later claimed they had been there in case ‘passengers needed assistance’.
It was only after this that it was decided that the ferry would go to Troon, leaving at 7pm – having left Arran at 1.50pm, where the cars disembarked. Passengers and drivers waiting at Ardrossan for the 3.20pm sailing finally left on a foot passenger-only service at 6pm on the MV Isle of Arran which berthed at the Winton pier.
A spokesman for CalMac said: ‘Bearing in mind that the equipment breakdown, which was nothing to do with CalMac, meant that it absolutely could not land at its destination. Going back to Brodick was considered, as was landing at the Irish berth, as was Troon and other destinations.
‘All these options were looked at before we were given permission to land on the mainland rather than go back to the island. A lot of work went into ensuring that people were able to get off the boat safely, thanks to the crew and a lot of people behind the scenes.
‘Passengers were kept informed of all of this along the way and I’m sure some were not happy about the idea of going back to the island, but this was only one alternative being looked at.’
Robert Morrison, operations director for CalMac Ferries Limited, said: ‘Due to the failure of the harbour authority’s linkspan at Ardrossan, we were unable to disembark vehicles on Thursday evening. It was agreed that Troon would be used as an emergency port. Passengers were kept fully informed of all developments and we apologise for the inconvenience caused which was outside our control.’