AN AYRSHIRE MSP has backed calls for an emergency plan for the Largs to Cumbrae ferry route after weeks of disruption.

The route's main vessel, MV Loch Shira, out of service till mid June at the earliest, while the MV Loch Riddon has also been beset with difficulties.

The elderly MV Isle of Cumbrae, which has had several spells standing in on the busy route, has been placed in the 'retirement zone' by Caledonian MacBrayne.

The ferry operator has now reshuffled its fleet to deploy MVs Loch Tarbert and Loch Bhrusda to the busy service.

But Katy Clark, who represents the West Scotland region for Scottish Labour, told the News that the present strategy is 'unsustainable'.

Largs and Millport Weekly News:

Ms Clark said: “Islanders are increasingly frustrated at this terrible situation. 

“Largs-Cumbrae is one of the busiest routes on the Clyde and Hebrides network, yet for weeks the route has been forced to rely upon vessels which are well beyond the 30-year operating life expectancy.

“CalMac must be commended for introducing more reliable vessels to the route, but they are ultimately hamstrung by the Scottish Government’s failure to replace  the fleet over many years.

"As it stands, construction won’t be under way for a replacement vessel for the route until 2026, a whole decade after first promised by the Scottish Government.

“The present strategy just isn’t sustainable.

"An emergency plan is needed to ensure investment and robust resilience planning is in place to run the lifeline service that ferry users and our island communities deserve.”