Tubs boss Robertson’s silence on Dunoon ferry scandal
July 11, 2012
ALI Cat scandal ferries boss Archie Robertson is still refusing to talk about how lives may have been put at risk onboard the Dunoon-Gourock tub – SIX DAYS after he was asked to comment.
Repeated requests from CowalCourier.com for the Caledonian MacBrayne chief to explain how he – and the boat’s own masters – didn’t know she had to be sailed in clear and calm conditions only have been ignored.
And he has still not apologised for threatening retired CalMac Marine Superintendent Sandy Ferguson with legal action for informing ferry campaigners and Infrastructure Minister Alex Neil about the “serious safety issues” involved.
Meanwhile, Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell is ramping up the pressure on Mr Robertson, branding his treatment of Captain Ferguson as “shoddy” – and demanding he replace the Ali Cat “as a matter of urgency”.
Mr Russell said: “This is an extremely serious matter. Passenger safety may have been put at risk on the Ali Cat by senior management being inexplicably unaware of the favourable weather condition imposed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
“When Captain Ferguson approached me on the matter the MCA were very quickly able to confirm the condition, and indeed having seen a copy the condition, it is made quite clear – and it is beyond me why Argyll Ferries were unaware of it.
“You would have thought that they would at least have checked it when Captain Ferguson very helpfully tried to bring it to their attention.”
But Mr Robertson was still remaining tight-lipped yesterday when CowalCourier.com asked for him to finally speak about the growing scandal.
We were told last Friday that the boss was unavailable, and our email to the CalMac press office on Monday was ignored, as was a phone call to the company’s Gourock HQ yesterday – along with a follow-up voicemail and a text message.
We finally received a text from a CalMac spokesman at 9.39pm last night – but no comments from Mr Robertson or the apology asked for on behalf of Captain Ferguson.
Instead, the spokesman merely explained that he had been “tied up out of the office all day and had poor phone signal too”, whilst promising us “a line” sometime this morning.
Mr Russell of the whole matter: “This raises the question of how often the vessel may have been operated out with its certification over the past year and whether passengers were unnecessarily put at risk.
“Safety of the public is paramount and I am horrified that my constituents safety may have been compromised by this vessel sailing in conditions far out with those deemed safe by the MCA.”
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