The following information was published on the Calmac website on Tuesday morning 31 March: "Due to technical problems we will be operating a reduced timetable on the Islay service until further notice"
Sailings from Kennacraig until further notice will be: 0700 Kennacraig - Port Ellen Monday to Saturday 1300 Kennacraig - Port Askaig Monday to Sunday 1800 Kennacraig - Port Askaig Mondays & Friday 1800 Kennacraig - Port Ellen Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday Sailings from Islay until further notice will be: 0415 Port Askaig -Kennacraig Tuesdays & Saturdays 0415 Port Ellen - Kennacraig Monday, Wednesday,Thursday & Friday 0945 Port Ellen - Kennacraig Monday to Sunday 1530 Port Askaig - Kennacraig Monday to Sunday Wednesdays - No Kennacraig to Colonsay service. Colonsay service available from Oban at 15:30hrs on Wednesdays. CalMac very much regrets any inconvenience caused by this necessary alteration to the current timetable service.
For up to date information check Calmac Service Status. To contact Calmac directly call the disruption Line at + 44(0)8457 650050 or call the local offices at Kennacraig Terminal on + 44 (0)1880 730253 or at Port Ellen Terminal on + 44 (0)1496 302209
Update: The reason for the technical problems is the grounding of the Isle of Arran ferry at Oban last week. Apparently the captain went on the wrong side of a buoy and ran aground. There seems to be quite a bit of damage done. I have been told there is a hole in the hull (not confirmed) and the ship is now in dry-dock for repairs. In the meanwhile the MV Iona is heading towards Islay to act as relief vessel for the time being. I have also been told she will handle freight only. The MV Iona sailed the Islay route in the 1970s. The capacity of this vessel is rather limited but will hopefully be able to guarantee a place for everyone who wants to travel to and from Islay during easter.
I was just sent an email telling me that the MV Iona is now called Pentalina B. I have included an image below from Wikipedia which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0. The Pentalina B ferry is now owned by Pentland Ferries and sailed from the Gills Bay terminal, about 3 miles west of John o' Groats to St Margaret's Hope on Orkney.
The Pentalina B formerly known as MV Iona at Dunkerque France
The Pentalina B in the Sound of Islay passing Port Askaig on the first of April. Image courtesy Elliott of Islay Sea Shipping