A new high-tech passenger walkway which cost £1.75 million has been broken for the past week at Stornoway ferry terminal.
Because of the breakdown, all foot passengers currently must walk along the vehicle linkspan to get on and off the £42 million Ullapool-to-Stornoway ferry MV Loch Seaforth.
It has now emerged the fault is so serious that a team of engineers has to fly to Stornoway from Barcelona to carry out the repairs to the walkway, officially called a Passenger Access System (PAS).
Discussions about the faults with the Spanish manufacturers, walkway specialists Adelte in Barcelona, have resulted in agreement that engineers must come to fix the walkway on-site in Stornoway.
The latest annual accounts of Stornoway Port Authority show that the airport-style walkway, which was bought to get easier access to the new MV Loch Seaforth, cost £1.75 million. It has only been in use since February 16 this year when the Loch Seaforth officially started service.
Alex Macleod, the new chief executive of Stornoway Port Authority, confirmed: “The fault on the PAS has now been identified. The Adelte team are due to arrive from Spain over the weekend, and expect to complete the repairs by Monday or Tuesday next week. The PAS will remain out of operation until the repair works are complete.”
Mr Macleod confirmed there was an extensive warranty on the PAS and he did not envisage Stornoway port having to pay any of the repair costs.