Ministers have been accused of "mismanagement" as further service cancellations were announced for Mull stretching into tomorrow - with no estimate on when repairs to a broken down lifeline ferry will be complete.

State-controlled CalMac apologised as locals from Mull and Iona aired their frustration after state-controlled ferry operators CalMac moved to put off island day trippers as it sought an emergency solution to ease disruption to services after 18-year-old ferry MV Coruisk was brought in for repairs.

A relief ferry the 35-year-old MV Loch Linnhe, was brought in yesterday (Thursday) to try and resolve the latest in a series of ferry breakdowns that have hit the islands.

A further eight journeys were cancelled for tomorrow (Friday) with an identical number going yesterday.

MV Loch Linnhe, one of the oldest in the ageing fleet operated by CalMac, began operating at 4pm yesterday (Thursday) after travelling up from the Clyde. It is operating a shuttle service on a different route - Lochaline to Fishnish and can take 12 cars - less than the 40 carried by Coruisk.

Mull, through the fishing village of Fionnphort, provides access for travellers to Iona through a mile-crossing.

Donald Cameron, the Scottish Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands and shadow constitution, external affairs and culture secretary said: "More ferry misery for communities on Mull and Iona.

READ MORE: Mull anger as another of Scotland's lifeline CalMac ferries breaks down

"Absolutely unforgivable, especially now, and a shambles caused by years of mismanagement by the SNP Government."

Coruisk, a younger member of Scotland's ageing ferry fleet has had engine issues since Thursday leading to a series of cancelled sailings to and from Craignure on Mull - one of Scotland's most popular holiday islands.

The Herald:

Two crossings between Mull and the mainland from Tobermory to Kilchoan in the Highlands running at 1pm and 1.45pm have been cancelled till Tuesday.

Joe Reade, chairman of the Mull and Iona Ferry Committee said tour operators and organisers of boat trips in particular will be badly affected by CalMac's decision to deter day-trippers.

"The most difficult day will be Saturday, if not fixed by then. That’s when all the self catering places change over and it’s the busiest day," he said.

Islanders on Mull had hopes of a ferry ‘rescue’ dashed just a week ago, when negotiations to charter the Pentland Ferries-owned catamaran MV Pentalina planned to work the Oban-Craignure route broke down.

READ MORE: CalMac warn of compensation claims as probe is launched into biggest ferry breakdown

It came after the Herald revealed that the catamaran which Scots transport chiefs wanted to use as an "emergency" to ease Scotland's ferry crisis was taken out of commercial service over "safety" concerns, refuted by its owners.

The Scottish Government's Transport Scotland agency had been considering the suitability of Pentalina, which can hold 58 cars and 350 passengers.

Ferry bosses inquired about chartering Pentalina on March 26 - nearly three weeks before the engine failure of CalMac's biggest vessel, MV Loch Seaforth, which caused seven weeks of chaos across Scotland's lifeline ferry network.

Some 16 of state-owned ferry operator CalMac's 31 working ferries deployed across Scotland are now over 25 years old.

The network issues comes as would-be ferry replacements MV Glen Sannox and Hull 802 are still languishing in now state-owned Ferguson Marine's shipyard, with costs of their construction more than doubling from the original £97m contract.

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: "Whilst the management and maintenance of the vessels is an operational issue for Calmac, we recognise communities’ frustration at the disruption and the impact it is having. The Minister for Transport is given regular updates on the performance of the Clyde and Hebrides network, including the current challenges faced by users of the Mull-Iona ferry service.

“Discussions are ongoing to enable the affected vessel to return to service as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Calmac has deployed the MV Loch Linhhe to Lochaline to provide additional capacity to Mull.”