Ferry failure has whisky firm on hold

Published: 08/06/2009

By Moira Kerr

The Isle of Jura distillery has had to stop production

The Isle of Jura distillery has had to stop production

A DISTILLERY has been forced to halt production after an island community was left without its lifeline ferry.

Isle of Jura Distillery assistant manager Willie Cochrane said yesterday that, without a vehicle ferry to move waste products and spirit off the island, it could not continue production.

He said: "When the ferry goes off we can't produce whisky because we need raw materials on the island and we need to get the draff – the by-product – off the island every two days. We have a holding tank, but that only lasts a day and a half.

"It's not just money being lost to us, it's money being lost to the Chancellor. If this happened to all the distilleries on Islay there would be a public outcry."

The Eilean Dhiura ferry, which is operated by ASP Ship Management Ltd, on behalf of Argyll and Bute Council, developed an engine fault and was taken into dry dock for repairs nine days ago.

After two days a replacement vehicle ferry, the Margaret Sinclair, was contracted to give cover, but was taken off the Jura-Islay route yesterday because of other contract commitments.

A council spokesman said: "Every effort is being made to source another vehicular ferry from CalMac."

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