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Displaying items by tag: CalMac

A new BBC documentary series will go behind the scenes to report on the working lives of the crew and staff who serve the Scottish west coast communities across the CalMac ferry network.

It will also focus on many of the people and communities which depend on CalMac, exploring their way of life and livelihoods.

The series is being created by IWC Media, the production company behind Susan Calman's Secret Scotland (Channel 5), Scotland's Home of The Year (BBC One) and Location, Location, Location (Channel 4).

Filming will be observational - capturing normal jobs and duties as they happen to represent what goes on behind the scenes at CalMac. Staff are not under any obligation to be filmed and the documentary production company will ensure that operational procedures are not affected.

Robbie Drummond, Managing Director of CalMac, said: "Communities have faced an awful lot of upheaval recently and we understand just how deeply this has affected them. This documentary will not gloss over these problems but is an opportunity to highlight the importance of the ferry service to people's lives.

"This is a chance for us to show who we really are and the lengths our people go to every day to deliver our services.

"It will showcase the people who regularly use the ferry service and to promote the unique local businesses operating within the islands, all of whom rely on CalMac."

Published in Maritime TV

Clydeside shipyard Ferguson Marine announced on Monday, the completion of a major milestone in the build of one of the dual fuel ferries currently under construction.

Hull 802, as the vessel is currently known, was fitted with its large bow unit which is the largest single unit added to the ferry’s steel hull, completing the bow structure.

This week will mark a key moment in the vessel’s progress when the final units are lifted into place, completing the main hull and steelwork and making way for the installation of the ferry’s aluminium superstructure, which is all the units that sit above the main deck.

Over the coming weeks and months, resources will ramp up to around 150 people working on Hull 802 to support the construction effort.

The National has more on the Port Glasgow yard which Afloat adds is constructing the ferry for CalMac's Uig Triangle service.

Whereas the first ferry when completed, Glen Sannox is to serve on the Arran service on the Firth of Clyde.

Published in Shipyards

Scottish-state owned ferry operator, CalMac is now looking at redeploying or chartering other vessels to help meet demand because it has no spare large ferries available.

Caledonian Isles is being repaired in Troon (see related story) after suffering an engine failure and hitting the harbour in Ardrossan on Sunday during the busiest (Easter) weekend so far this year.

The Isle of Arran, a substitute ferry drafted in to take over the main Ardrossan-Brodick route – one of CalMac’s busiest – can only carry half as many vehicles, which has caused major disruption to travel to and from the island.

CalMac has cancelled all bookings on the Firth of Clyde route.

This has meant that all but priority drivers, such as those carrying food and fuel supplies and people going to health appointments, are having to queue for sailings.

The engine which failed had undergone routine maintenance fewer than three months ago, the company told The Scotsman which more more on the story.

Published in Ferry

An upgraded ferry terminal at the Scottish port of Troon, operated by Associated British Ports (ABP) has been announced following marine works including new berthing fenders and a suspended concrete deck were completed.

The works carried out by civil engineering contractor George Leslie, are to support the CalMac ferry service to Ardrossan-Brodick/Campbeltown when it temporarily relocates to Troon (see Easter ferry related story) as part of the Ardrossan Harbour Project.

With the marine works complete, the focus at Troon now shifts to the completion of the required shoreside infrastructure, including the installation of a modular terminal building, extensive car parking, check-in lanes and pickup and drop-off areas. All of these works are scheduled to be completed by this summer

Commenting on the project’s completion, ABP’s Regional Director Andrew Harston said: “It is great to reach such an important milestone in the project and I am hugely proud of the local ABP team and our civil engineering contractors, George Leslie, who have worked so well together to deliver this on time and within budget.”

The berth upgrade has been designed to accommodate both of CalMac’s existing ferries and the newbuild M.V.Glen Sannox class of vessel which is due to enter into service next year.

Andrew Harston commented: “We are hopeful that the Port of Troon’s sheltered East Pier berth and track record of offering all-weather berthing will play a major part in helping to support the Arran communities call for improvements in terms of the reliability and resilience of ferry services to the island.”

Published in Ferry

Firth of Clyde ferry crossings to the Isle of Arran were removed from service on Tuesday as engineers tried to fix a broken engine.

The cancellations left just one vessel operating on the main route from Ardrossan (to Brodick), with ferry operator CalMac encouraging visitors to board by foot where possible.

Providing an update to the disruption on their website, CalMac said: “We are currently working on a repair plan which will require MV Caledonian Isles to move to an alternative port. A further update will be provided when available.

“We would encourage customers to travel as foot passengers where possible.”

Sailings at 7am, 9.45am, 12.30pm, 3.20pm and 6pm from Ardrossan and those at 8.20am, 11.05am, 1.55pm, 4.40pm and 7.20pm from Brodick were cancelled.

It comes after the Caledonian Isles vessel hit a harbour wall on Sunday, resulting in the shutting down of one engine.

STV News has more on the incident that took place during the busy Easter weekend.  

Published in Ferry

Workers of P&O Ferries left jobless by their employer have been urged to apply for positions with Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac). 

CalMac's managing director Robbie Drummond said in a statement he was "shocked" by the news 800 seafarers had been thrown out by P&O yesterday without notice.

And he invited them to come and work for him instead. He said: "We at CalMac were shocked and saddened to hear about the redundancies at P&O Ferries. This is an awful situation for our many ferry industry colleagues.

"We have vacancies currently available, including a number of deck ratings and seaman pursers required to start in April, and would encourage anyone affected to apply as soon as possible."

There are currently 16 deck ratings vacancies and one spot for a seaman purser.

P&O operates UK-mainland Europe routes in addition between Scotland and Northern Ireland via Cairnryan-Larne and on the Irish Sea the Dublin-Liverpool link (see Blackpool related story). 

The National has more on the story including vacancies currently with CalMac which Afloat adds is a subsidiary of the Scottish goverment owned David MacBrayne.

Published in Ferry

A shipyard in Turkey has won a £105 million contract to build two new lifeline CalMac ferries for the south-west Scottish island of Islay.

Cemre Marin Endustri has been announced as the preferred bidder for the order against three other yards which will increase vehicle and freight capacity by nearly 40 per cent.

The move was described as an "embarrassment" for the SNP by the Scottish Conservatives.

The first vessel is expected to be delivered by October 2024 and will enter service following sea trials and crew familiarisation. The second vessel will follow in early 2025.

Scottish Government-controlled Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), which owns the nation's ageing ferry fleet, had invited four overseas companies to bid for the contract to build the two vessels - and excluded Inverclyde shipbuilder Ferguson Marine.

The shipbuilder which runs the last remaining shipyard on the lower Clyde was nationalised after it financially collapsed in August 2019, amid soaring costs and delays to the construction of two lifeline island ferries.

The HeraldScotland has more on the story. 

Published in Shipyards
Tagged under

Ferry operator CalMac which is owned by the Scottish Government, has been accused of leaving the fleet to rust, as new figures show the cost of repairs rising by almost a quarter.

Since the start of the current CalMac franchise in 2016, the cost of repairs and maintenance for the fleet has risen by 23 per cent to £17,262,000 for the year. The total cost of repairs over the last five years amounts to £83,661,000.

CalMac’s services comprise the UK’s largest ferry operation, with a network of 29 routes stretching from Stornoway to Campbeltown (see 'seasonal' Mull of Kintyre excursion story).

A number of the sharpest increases were for ships running well past their original 25-year lifespan. This includes a 70 per cent rise in costs for the 36 year-old MV Loch Striven over the last five years; a 61 per cent rise in the costs for the 37 year-old MV Isle of Arran over the last five years and a 73 per cent rise in costs for the 29 year-old MV Caledonian Isles over the last five years.

Some of the newer vessels are not faring much better, with costs for the beleaguered MV Loch Seaforth (see Irish Sea story) rising 45 per cent, despite it only being launched in 2014. Similarly, costs for the seven year-old MV Catriona have tripled, rising by 197 per cent.

Further reading from The Scotsman

Published in Ferry

Vessels carrying passengers were once built to last, now under the Scottish National Party (SNP) they are not being built at all.

The operator at the heart of Scotland’s west coast ferry crisis, Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac), has been around for much longer than most Scots realise.

Today’s CalMac can trace its roots back to the middle of the 19th century when the ship-owning brothers George and James Burns struck a succession deal.

They were the Burns of Burns & Laird Line, whose steamers linked ports such as Liverpool and Glasgow with Belfast right up to the 1970's.

But the deal George Burns did in 1851 was to secure the future of G & J Burns’s local coastal ferry services between Scotland’s western seaboard and its numerous island communities.

The brothers sold that Scottish arm of their business to David Hutcheson, the chief clerk.

The Times has more on the story.

Published in Ferry

The biggest Scottish Western Isles ferry was due back in service (yesterday) after nearly seven weeks of for repairs on the Clyde as Afloat reported in April.

As the Herald writes, MV Loch Seaforth was taken off the Ullapool-Stornoway (Isle of Lewis) route by the state ferry operator, CalMac in mid-April and taken into dry dock for "major" engine repairs.

It led to persistent six delays in getting the ferry back in service as repairs continued.

Now Scottish Government-funded CalMac CalMac say sea trials on the MV Loch Seaforth have been successful and the ferry will return to service as planned. (Afloat today tracked the 700 passenger car ferry operating back on its routine route).

Following major repairs, the ferry departed the James Watt dock in Greenock on Friday and completed 50 hours of sea trials before arriving in Stornoway.

Further tests were carried out on Monday (yesterday) and they were also successful.

The newspaper has more details also on CalMac's southernmost routes, among them the Arran route and those to the Mull of Kintyre as Afloat previously reported.

Afloat also adds the 8,000 gross tonnage Glasgow registered ferry built, after making a delivery voyage to Scotland from the FSG Flensburg shipyard in 2014, surprisingly headed into the Irish Sea (off Wicklow Head) for further sea trials.

The German shipyard was also responsible for launching Seatruck's Irish Sea quartet of 'Heysham' max ro-ro freight ferries during 2011-2012.

In addition Irish Ferries cruiseferry W.B. Yeats launched by FSG in 2018, but did not enter service until early in the following year, firstly on the Irish Sea prior to making a debut on an Ireland-France link. 

Published in Ferry
Page 1 of 5

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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