How the new ships will look

The construction of two dual fuel ferries - one of which is expected to serve Skye - is approaching a new project milestone as the first vessel, currently known as Hull 801, nears the 75 per cent steelwork fabrication stage.

 Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), who are behind the construction projects, have also confirmed that the second vessel, Hull 802 is following closely behind, currently at 60 per cent steelwork fabrication. Both are expected to be in service by late 2018.

The 102 metre vessels will be capable of operating on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and marine gas oil (MGO), reducing emissions to help meet Scottish Government reduction targets across transport.  They are being designed to provide a fully flexible, year-round service for Arran and the Skye Triangle routes.

Last month, the dual fuel engines that will power the vessels were delivered to Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited’s shipyard in Port Glasgow, where the ships are being built.  The 147m3 LNG tanks supplied by Wartsila - a stand out feature of the new vessels, measuring 20.4 metres in length and 4 metres in diameter – are nearing completion and are expected to be delivered to the shipyard in June 2017.  Work is also underway on the aluminium superstructure that will form the accommodation block of the ships.

The hulls of the new ferries

The new ships will be highly manoeuvrable, with Twist Flow Costa Bulb Flap Rudders, three 620 kW bow thrusters and a 480 kW stern thruster.  An innovative stern ramp will slide transversely, allowing the ships to operate on several routes across the service network.

CMAL, which owns ferries, ports and harbours across the west coast of Scotland, has published a series of project photos of the hulls, engines and fuel tanks, as well as artist impressions to visualise what the ships will look like when complete.

Jim Anderson, Director of Vessels at Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), said:

“It is an impressive sight to see the two vessels being built side by side and the stage of fabrication now allows us to see the vessel form taking shape on the slipway at the shipyard.  Hull 801 is approaching the 75 per cent fabrication stage, with Hull 802 following closely behind.  The yard is now moving into the main equipment installation stage of the vessels.

“The LNG fuel tanks are hugely impressive and their planned delivery reminds us of the scale of the project we are delivering.  The design and build of these dual fuel vessels is a highly complex technical project, the first of its kind in Scotland – and indeed the UK.  They represent CMAL’s commitment to exploring new technologies for ferries, as well as a wider commitment to innovation in Scotland and consideration for the environmental impact of transport.”

Liam Campbell, Managing Director at Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd said:

“We are now entering a stage of the build on the vessels that will see much of the equipment being delivered and allow us to further advance the outfitting of the vessels both on the slipway and in the module hall.  These vessels, although complex, allow the yard invaluable experience in LNG vessels and, mixed with the experience we have gained in previous CMAL builds with hybrid propulsion vessels, puts us in a great position to serve the industry with state of the art vessels.”

The new vessels are earmarked for the Arran and Skye Triangle routes, although the final decision on routes is subject to review by CalMac Ferries Ltd, CMAL and Transport Scotland.  The first ferry is expected to enter service in the second half of 2018, with the second vessel following a few months later.