The £12.3 million contract to build a third hybrid ferry, originally known as Hull 727, was awarded to Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd. in September 2014 and was the first major deal for the company after it was taken over by Clyde Blowers Capital. The Scottish government investment, which is being taken forward by CMAL, secured around 80 jobs for the Port Glasgow and Inverclyde area, many of whom were employees of the shipyard’s previous owner and worked on the first two hybrid ferries.
CMAL held a competition to pick the name of the new ferry in June 2015 and announced in July that she would be christened the Catriona, the name taking 44% of the vote. Catriona is the title of a novel written by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1893 and is the sequel to the highland adventure Kidnapped, following the further adventures of its hero David Balfour. The 499gt newbuild was launched at Port Glasgow on 11th December and will enter service in the spring of 2016. The launch ceremony was undertaken by Mrs. Anna Østergaard, wife of CMAL’s Chairman, Erik Østergaard.
The ferry is 43.50m long, 12.20m wide and has a deadweight of 135t. The service speed is 9 knots with capacity for 150 passengers and 23 cars, or two laden 44t HGVS. The Catriona, Hallaig and Lochinvar are the world’s first seagoing passenger and vehicle roll-on roll-off ferries to incorporate a low-carbon hybrid system of diesel electric and lithium ion battery power. The technology is cleaner, quieter and cheaper to operate and maintain than ever before. The vessel will be powered by small diesel generator sets, feeding power to a 400 volt switchboard, which, in addition to the batteries, will supply power to electric propulsion motors that turn the propellers.