A FERRY had to be deep cleaned and services suspended after a member of its crew was found to have contracted coronavirus.

The CalMac worker was struck with Covid-19 symptoms and later returned a positive test, resulting in the cancellation of Cumbrae services on Monday morning.

A deep clean of the MV Loch Shira ferry had to be carried out as a result of the incident.

The ferry company alerted passengers to the problem early in the morning via its social media channels.

The News contacted Caledonian MacBrayne regarding the call offs.

A spokesperson confirmed that one member of staff had come down with virus symptoms and as a result a number of other staff were now having to self-isolate.

While the Loch Shira remained out of action, the ferry Loch Riddon was called into service for the 11.15am Monday sailing.

The disruption meant that a number key workers were unable to get to the island - with the cancellation explained on the ferry operator's website as being for 'operational reasons'.

As we went to press, Tommy Gore, area operations manager (Clyde) for CalMac, said: “A crew member from the MV Loch Shira has received a positive test for Covid-19.

“The crew member left the vessel immediately and the remaining crew members who have been in contact with the individual are now being advised to self-isolate.

“In line with our strict procedures, the vessel docked at Largs to be deep cleaned by a specialist company.

“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.

“A replacement crew and vessel were brought in and the timetabled service resumed later on Monday morning.”

"Scottish Government Covid-19 protection levels are in place across Scotland and include travel restrictions, which are now law.

"We are working closely with Transport Scotland and we ask that our customers follow the latest nationwide guidelines and the specific local measures."

For full details on travelling safely on ferries, go to https://www.calmac.co.uk/covid19/faqs/safer-travel-with-calmac