Manuel Cortes today expressed his disappointment to see negative news stories about CalMac in the papers over Christmas and New Year.
Cortes said, “A number of ferries have had to be cancelled due to bad weather over the period. This is something that happens every winter and is necessary for the safety of passengers and crew.
"CalMac staff should be praised for putting safety first. Of course, it is a lifeline service and no-one wants our Scottish islands to be cut off from vital goods and services, like healthcare. But it’s just wrong-headed to suggest that the ferries should put to sea when it’s not safe to do so.
“CalMac staff have done a heroic job keeping the lifeline services going throughout several lockdowns and a global pandemic. They deserve our heartfelt thanks and support for their efforts, not the criticism reported in the press.
Many cancellations have also taken place as a result of aging ferries breaking down. New ferries which are being built are now three years overdue and repair costs are skyrocketing.
"The buck for the mess in the procurement of new ferries stops with the Scottish Government. The nationalists have been in power for over 12 years but have made a dog's breakfast of procuring new ferries thus letting badly down the many communities who rely on these vital services".