On 19th May both CalMac & CMAL welcomed Transport Scotland’s decision to award CalMac £900 million the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) contract for up to eight years.
Meanwhile, work continues on the new dual-fuel ferries, the steel for which was cut on 17th February at Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd. (FMEL). The new 100m, roll on roll off vehicle passenger ferries are designed to carry 127 cars or 16 HGVs or a combination of both and up to 1,000 passengers. The vessels will be delivered in 2017 and 2018.
Finnish manufacturer Wartsila has been selected to provide the propulsion machinery packages for both ferries, namely 6-cylinder 34DF main engines capable of operating on either liquefied natural gas (LNG) or conventional diesel fuels for each ship. Wartsila will also provide two auxiliary engines, gearboxes, shaft lines, seals and bearings, controllable pitch propeller systems, tunnel thrusters, the Wartsila LNGPac storage and supply system, plus extended commissioning and engineering.
Following her launch in December 2015, the Catriona is nearing completion in the dock at FMEL’s shipyard in Port Glasgow. Her sea trials were scheduled for June. The remodelled Weymss Bay terminal reopened in March but the repair work at the Port Ellen Ferry Terminal has been postponed until autumn 2016. The port’s linkspan is being replaced and cylinders and pipework are being upgraded and work was due to begin in April. A technical problem was identified late in the linkspan fabrication programme, which would have delayed the start of works on site by two to three weeks.
Although the linkspan was ready by early May, after consultation, CMAL decided to wait until autumn to undertake the work. The 1,599gt/2003 built Coruisk, which had been relocated to serve Mull was to be returned to the Mallaig-Armadale route (the route for which she was built) following campaigning there, much to the consternation of Mull residents. However, in a clear show of who appears to pull the strings, Scotland’s Transport Minister has insisted that the ship will remain on the Mull service.
So, the new 3 ship Armadale service is set to continue to experience schedule issues when ships cannot use Armadale at low tide.