First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed today Glasgow based Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited (FMEL) as the preferred tenderer for the contract to build two ferries for the Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd’s (CMAL) fleet. Once finalised, the new £97m contract will create new jobs at the shipyard and secure employment for the existing workforce of around 150 people, providing a boost for shipbuilding on the Clyde and the local economy.
The contracts, when signed between CMAL and FMEL, will see two 100 metre ferries which can accommodate 127 cars or 16 HGV’s or a combination of both and up to 1000 passengers. built at Port Glasgow. For comparison, the current MV Finlaggan can carry 550 passengers and 85 cars, the MV Seaforth (picture) built in 2014, can carry 700 passengers and 143 cars.
Care has been taken with the specification to ensure a high level of passenger comfort and ease of accessibility to all areas. The ships will be capable of operating across a range of drafts and speeds to meet the precise requirements of the current operator, CalMac Ferries Ltd, and will be able to service a wide range of ports and routes without significant redevelopment over their expected 30 year plus lifespan. Continue reading....
To ensure the new vessels can operate in the demanding conditions of the west coast of Scotland, the winning design from FMEL incorporates a high level of in-built backup capability to improve reliability and ability. From an efficiency and emissions perspective, they are designed to operate on either marine diesel or liquefied natural gas (LNG), where benefits will be gained by a marked reduction in CO2 and sulphur and nitreous oxides emissions. The ship will be capable of operating at speeds of up to 16.5 knots and will be fitted with three bow thrusters to provide a high level of manoeuvrability in adverse weather conditions. It is likely that the first ship will initially serve on the Ardrossan to Arran route, using the new port facilities being built at Brodick. The second vessel is destined for the Uig Triangle. The vessels they replace will be cascaded throughout the network, with no further details available at this time. So no new ferry for the Islay route but the two new vessels will bring relief to the ageing fleet and it will hopefully have a positive effect on the reliability of the entire network.