SERVICES to the Isle of Bute have been cancelled after a ferry developed two faults in one day.

Problems with the clutch on the 17-year-old MV Bute on Tuesday has caused disruption on the route from Wemyss Bay to Rothesay with a string of service cancellations.

At least eight sailings had to be scrapped and a further four are already cancelled for tomorrow morning.

The Scottish Government-controlled ferry operator CalMac says a a review is to be carried out at 10.30am on Wednesday.

Users were first told of of issues at noon when two sailings were cancelled.

An hour-and-a-half later CalMac said that the issue had been resolved only to say later tha it had developed "another technical fault" that was to be explored leading to further cancellations.

The busy mainland to Isle of Bute service will have to run as single rather than a dual ferry service.

At the end of last year, the vessel was out of action for over 10 days after it broke down with engine problems for the second time in three months.

Issues with the vessel, which can carry 50 passengers and 60 cars come a matter of days after one of CalMac's oldest vessels was taken out of service causing major disruption to island ferry services due to steering problems.

Longsuffering Uist islanders were again hit by latest issues hitting MV Hebrides.

A problem with the port rudder of the 22-year-old vessel has meant that the state-controlled ferry operator had to have discussions with the manufacturer and "relevant authorities" before it could return to service.

It meant that sailings on the so-called Skye triangle between Uig, Lochmaddy on North Uist and Tarbert on the Isle of Harris were suspended.

CalMac said the vessel, which can carry 612 passengers and 90 cars, was first withdrawn with problems with the steering system early on the night of November 2 after first saying the issues were being investigated at around 6pm.

HeraldScotland: MV HEBRIDES

It had already suspended services to Lochmaddy on Wednesday because of ongoing harbour works which had restricted vessel manoeuvrability It came as technical issues with MV Coruisk caused some cancellations to sailings on the Wemyss Bay to Isle of Bute route on Thursday morning.

Ministers have confirmed that tenders are being sought for the building of two more ferries which it is hoped will be in place by 2026 that will serve the communities of Harris and North Uist, which have suffered severe disruption since the beginning of this year.

Transport Scotland has confirmed that the new ferries will be built to the same specification as new vessels being designed and built in Turkey for Islay.

Three weeks ago CalMac was scrambling to find a resolution to a suspension of services to and from South Uist which had lasted almost a week.

Services were suspended to and from South Uist as MV Lord of the Isles was withdrawn for repairs to be carried out in dry dock at Cammell Laird in Birkenhead.

It meant that CalMac drafted in MV Clansman - causing knock-on disruption to other services.

Lochboisdale, the port which links South Uist to the mainland had been out of action to ferries between September 24 and October 8 to allow for repairs to the linkspan used by the ferry.

South Uist was told that it while losing services and that extra services would operate additional to Lochmaddy, in North Uist - 42 miles away.

A routine annual inspection by specialist engineers and Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), which owns the ferry terminal, had revealed a number of lifting ropes on the linkspan which need to be replaced at the earliest opportunity. Last year’s inspections showed no issues.

In early October it further emerged that an alternative route for people to Lochmaddy was being hit with cancellations by further concerns over safety due to pier works and adverse weather.

HeraldScotland: The CalMac ferry sailing out of Uig on Skye heading for Lochmaddy on North Uist..

CalMac had continued to warn users that the works associated with a £15.3m pier upgrade which restrict vessel movement in the harbour area can be cancelled at short notice.

In April, George Leslie Ltd began replacing the existing infrastructure at the west coast ferry terminal to cater for a new fleet of vessels.

In August, Uist islanders complained that shops had to ration essential items amid widespread ferry cancellations.

It came after the loss of MV Hebrides which was taken out of service on Tuesday for a third time in a matter of weeks because of an issue with its CO2 firefighting system - which is a safety issue.

The state-owned ferry operator CalMac is having to handle an ageing ferry fleet with new vessels Glen Sannox and Hull 802 still languishing in Port Glasgow as the costs of their construction have soared from the original £97m contract to at £340m and delivery is over five years late.

Seventeen of CalMac's 35 working ferries deployed across Scotland are now over 25 years old.

The oldest in the CalMac fleet is the Isle of Cumbrae which is 46-years old.

The much delayed Glen Sannox and Hull 802 are due to be delivered to serve island communities in 2023 and early 2024.

UPDATE: CalMac Said that following a sea trial, MV Bute was to return to service with a return to a two vessel timetable resuming with the 12:15pm sailing from Wemyss Bay.