A service on a lifeline Scots ferry route has been taken out of action after becoming damaged during operation.

The MV Loch Shira, which operates on the Largs-Cumbrae route in the west of Scotland, made contact with the seabed at Largs earlier today.

The vessel requires to be docked at Dales Greenock for repairs to be carried out, and it is not yet known when these repairs will be complete.

The MV Loch Alainn, which operates the Colintraive to Rhubodach route, is being redeployed to replace the MV Loch Shira, with services on that route being cancelled tomorrow.

Services on the Largs-Cumbrae route will continue from around 5pm on the MV Loch Alainn.

CalMac has confirmed to The Herald that the incident occurred during a cleaning break, and so no passengers were on board the vessel at the time.

No one was injured when the vessel came into contact with the seabed.

A statement on the CalMac website reads: "As a result of damage sustained to MV Loch Shira, after contact made with the seabed at Largs, the vessel requires to be docked for a repair to be carried out.

"A replacement vessel, MV Loch Alainn, is on passage to Largs and service is expected to resume at approximately 5pm."

A spokesman told The Herald: "MV Loch Alainn has been redeployed from Colintraive and will pick up the Largs-Cumbrae service at approximately 5pm. As a result, the Colintraive-Rhubodach service has been cancelled for the remainder of today and on Tuesday, October 12.

"MV Loch Riddon is on passage from the Oban area and is expected to arrive at Largs on Tuesday night to pick up service from Wednesday morning. This will allow MV Loch Alainn to return to Colintraive."

The MV Loch Alainn was last night also out of action after an electrical issue on board.

The vessel undertook sea trials this morning, with normal service resuming just hours before it was then drafted in to replace the MV Loch Shira at Largs.

It's the second incident to hit lifeline CalMac routes in just a matter of days.

On Sunday, passengers hoping to travel between the Isle of Arran and the mainland were forced to make a 3 hour diverted trip after a positive Covid case on the route's main ferry between Ardrossan and Brodick caused almost all sailings to be cancelled.

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Passengers were told that all mainland to island travel were required to use the Claonaig to Lochranza service.

Today, it was confirmed that staffing issues at Ardrossan have been resolved, and services will now operate as timetabled.

The Herald has approached CalMac for further comment on today's incident on the MV Loch Shira.