LIFELINE ferry services are to be disrupted to two islands over the weekend due to further engine problems with one of the CalMac ferry fleet's oldest vessels.

According to ferry operator CalMac, there will be disruption to services to and from Islay and Colonsay over the weekend due to non-scheduled maintenance work on MV Hebridean Isles' port main engine turbo charger.

It comes just six weeks after services to the islands had to be suspended after the 37-year-old vessel developed engine problems.

The third oldest ferry in the CalMac fleet had to be removed from service while repairs were carried out.

Now state-owned CalMac has told users that there is to be further disruption after this weekend as further work is required on Hebridean Isles which means it has to go to Kennacraig, south west of Tarbert on the Kintyre peninsula in Argyll and Bute on Saturday evening.

CalMac said there would be no sailings between Oban an Colonsay on Saturday.

The ferry operator said it was in the process of contacting all customers who will be affected by the disruption which comes outwith the vessel's annual overhaul.

"Disrupting a sailing is a decision we do not take lightly because we know it will inconvenience our customers and the communities we serve. We apologise for any inconvenience caused," the ferry operator said.

A CalMac spokesman said: "The work is being planned for this Sunday on board to avoid the potential for technical problems happening."

CalMac said there would still be services operating to and from Islay while the work was being carried out.

MV Finlaggan is expected to continue to support island services during the weekend.

The islands suffered further disruption for three days at the end of June when the vessel encountered further issues with its port main engine that needed repaired.

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Garry MacLean vice convener of the Islay community council ferry committee then raised issues with the service with MSPs in the Scottish Parliament.

He said there was only four boats that are capable of coming to Islay and their average age is over 30 which "creates issues".

He said: "The crux of the matter is that capacity and reliability are so important to our island community because, at the end of the day, it is very much a lifeline ferry service for the local community. It is very difficult to assess the impact, day to day, other than to echo what was said about the local community trying to go to the mainland to fulfil appointments, go shopping, see family and basically live a normal life that is not impeded by our slightly more remote location.

"As for business, we have nine functioning whisky distilleries on Islay, which require goods coming in and going out that are all quite time sensitive. Therefore, we require a large freight capacity. If any little cog in the machine breaks down, that has a disproportionate effect on everyone else. In our case, it happens to be the ferries—all too regularly, unfortunately.

"With the whisky industry comes tourism, from which a lot of people derive their primary income either directly or tangentially. If people have a bad experience, they are less likely to come back. If they try to book and there is no availability at a time that is convenient, they will go elsewhere.

"The disruption is something that really cannot be overestimated."

Hebidean Isles was taken out of action when it developed hull problems in mid-September last year.

It is the latest in a series of disruption issues involving Scotland's ageing ferry fleet.

One ferry service had to be suspended on Monday after an engine failure with a vessel that is due to be phased out.

The issues with 30-year-old MV Loch Tarbert led to a suspension of services between Sconser on the island of Skye and the Isle of Raasay after disruption began at around 1pm on Tuesday.

The cancellations continued to run into Tuesday morning while the issues were investigated.

CalMac said at around 10.39am on Tuesday that the engine had been fixed and services were due to resume with at 10.55am.

MV Loch Tarbert is one of seven vessels that are due to be replaced over the next nine years.

It comes as South Uist has lost services for 11 days after a critical safety concern with its main port.

Lochboisdale, the port which links South Uist to the mainland was out of action to ferries from September 24 to allow for repairs to the linkspan used by vessels.

The repairs are due to be completed on Saturday (October 8).

During the closure period, CalMac have operated additional services to Lochmaddy, in North Uist - 42 miles away.