NEW transport minister Kevin Stewart has vowed to do “all that I can” to help islanders hit by ferry disruption.

Stewart said he would be seeking mitigations from CalMac after it emerged that South Uist would not not have a ferry service to the mainland for several weeks due to shortages.

Stewart responded to an urgent question in Holyrood just minutes after his appointment to his new role in Humza Yousaf’s government was approved by MSPs.

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He was previously the minister for mental wellbeing and social care. 

Stewart said the Scottish Government had provided funding to charter the MV Alfred to join CalMac’s fleet.

He said: “I recognise the impact these kind of things have on our island communities

“I will be doing all that I can to ensure that CalMac get it right for all of our island communities.”

Conservative MSP Graham Simpson said the minister had “inherited a disaster” and asked if islanders would be compensated.

Stewart said he would be speaking to Calmac on Thursday afternoon and hear what mitigations would be put in place.

The SNP’s Alasdair Allan said he had been “inundated with messages of despair from South Uist” and the level of service had been “abysmal”.

He added: “I will be meeting with CalMac this afternoon and I will impress upon them the need to minimise any outage to this service.”