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Wednesday, 19 June, 2002, 14:09 GMT 15:09 UK
Whisky firm seeks ferry damages
Isle of Jura ferry
The firm claims the ferry service is "laughable"
A whisky producer is claiming 225,000 from a council, alleging that the inefficiency of its ferry service has lost the company money.

Kyndal Spirits, producers of Isle of Jura malt whisky, said that the ferry service operated by Argyll and Bute Council, was "laughable".

Distillery manager Michael Heads said the ferry linking Jura with the neighbouring island of Islay had been a "disaster" since its introduction four years ago.

The ferry crossing from Feolin on Jura to Port Askaig on Islay takes five minutes and gives access to mainland ferry links to the west of Scotland, less than 10 miles away.


If it wasn't such a financial burden, the fact that Isle of Jura whisky travels around the world, but often fails to make the 800m journey from Jura to Islay would be laughable

Michael Heads
Distillery manager
Mr Heads said his firm, which relies on the service to transport its goods to the mainland, was at the "end of its tether" and had felt compelled to ask the council for some form of reimbursement.

The distiller is the island's main employer, with 30 staff from a population of 180.

Mr Heads said that since the introduction of the Eilean Dhiura ferry the company had lost a considerable amount of money.

He said the design of the ferry was partly to blame for the ongoing problems, as the firm was unable to fill its trucks to capacity.

Mr Heads also alleged that the vessel was not equipped to deal with continual bad weather.

Waste disposal point

He added: "If it wasn't such a financial burden, the fact that Isle of Jura whisky travels around the world, but often fails to make the 800m journey from Jura to Islay would be laughable."

The 225,061 compensation claim covers loss of income during a six-week period while the ferry was being refitted earlier this year, Mr Heads said.

But that is only the tip of the iceberg, he added.

A spokeswoman for Argyll and Bute Council said increased demand for the ferry was due to the waste disposal site for the distillery being relocated to Islay, necessitating extra ferry trips.

She said: "We have done all we can to deal with the unexpected rise in demand in order to continue to provide as best a service as possible under the circumstances we now face."

The council agreed the service was not "ideal" and officials have applied to the Scottish Executive's Public Transport Fund for money, she said.

The funding would be used to upgrade the service for the island as part of a package to improve ferry services to the smaller Argyll Islands, she added.

See also:

12 Jun 02 | Scotland
10 Jun 02 | Scotland
01 Mar 02 | Scotland
28 Oct 01 | Scotland
26 Jul 01 | Business
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