Quote Originally Posted by Press and Journal
By rita campbell

Published: 24/11/2009

Disciplinary action has been taken against the captain of a Caledonian MacBrayne ferry who almost hit rocks while sailing from Oban to Lismore with 15 passengers and three crew on board.

The skipper, James MacLean, of North Connel, who has been suspended since the incident, will return to work next month on a different route.

The ferry company yesterday confirmed that it had completed an internal investigation into the MV Eigg’s “near miss”, which took place on the 11am sailing to Lismore on Saturday, October 17.

The small ferry is capable of carrying six cars.

The incident happened near the mainland, in the Lynn of Lorne, when passengers noticed the boat was very close to the shore.

There were claims that the skipper had fallen asleep at his wheelhouse.

Friends of Mr MacLean said he told them he had been reading charts and moving between the wheel and the chart table when the incident took place.

A CalMac spokesman said: “The internal investigation into the near miss by the MV Eigg on October 17 has now been completed.

“Its conclusions are confidential. However, we can confirm that disciplinary action has been taken as a result of its findings.

“The skipper is expected to return to work next month, but will be deployed on another route."

As is normal procedure, the skipper was breath-tested. The test proved negative.

John Carmichael, of Lismore Community Council, said: “I am happy that something has been done about this, but the results of the investigation should be made public. There should be no confidentiality — not when public safety is compromised.”

Mr MacLean could not be contacted, but a friend said: “He is a very reliable, responsible, competent and attentive skipper. It is not realistic to suggest he fell asleep.”