Construction is progressing on new vessels Isle of Islay (left) and Lock Indaal (right)
Cemre shipyard in Turkey is progressing with the construction of Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL)’s ferries, having laid the keel and cut the steel for two of the four new vessels on 24 May 2023.
The first ship to be delivered will be Isle of Islay, which is due to launch in October 2024. Sister ship Loch Indaal is expected to be delivered in February 2025 to operate between the Scottish isles of Islay and Jura. Cemre shipyard laid the keel for the second vessel on 24 May 2023.
The shipyard will also build two ‘Little Minch’ vessels, with the same specifications as the two new vessels for Islay, but with raised aft mooring decks to accommodate the higher pier heights at Lochmaddy, Uig and Tarbert in Scotland. The public will be asked to vote on the names for these two vessels over the next year in preparation for their delivery in June and October 2025.
“Work at Cemre shipyard is progressing well, with the ferries being constructed on time and on budget,” said Jim Andersen, director of vessels at CMAL. “These key milestones fill us with confidence that we will see all four vessels out on the network by the end of 2025. Keel laying for Loch Indaal is a significant milestone in the ship’s life with the first of the many units which will be fabricated and erected during the construction of the vessel.
“Simultaneously, the steel cutting for the first of the Little Minch vessels marking another milestone with the start of the construction of the vessel. The new ferries have been designed with carbon reduction in mind and are expected to deliver significant reductions in emissions.”
Each vessel will have capacity for up to 450 passengers and 100 vehicles. These ships, combined with two dual-fuel vessels currently under construction at Ferguson Marine shipyard, will see six newbuilds joining the Scottish ferry network by the end of 2025.
“We have committed to adding six new major vessels to the fleet by 2026, and I want to continue to see good progress on bringing them into service,” said Kevin Stewart, minister for transport for the Scottish government. “The Scottish government shares the desires of island communities for sustainable and effective ferry services and look forward to continuing our constructive engagement with them on future services and vessel replacements.”
The ships form part of a programme of investment by CMAL, funded through the Scottish government’s commitments to capital investment of around £700 million ($866 million) in ferry infrastructure and related services from 2021 to 2026.
The government will also fund initiatives to upgrade harbour infrastructure through its ‘Islands Connectivity Plan’.