#Old&Newferry – Ferry services to Rathlin Island are operating though the new carferry Spirit of Rathin built in Arklow, remains undergoing essential crew training and certification from the Maritime Coastguard Agency, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The £2.8 newbuild car ferry built by Arklow Marine Service, is expected to enter service in a couple of weeks according to the Rathlin Ferry Co. The six-car vessel also capable of handling an articulated truck and 140 passengers, will use the new £1 million berthing facility spent on improving Ballycastle Harbour. Introduction of the newbuild will improve the standards of service for the island’s population of 110 and visitors boosting the local economy.
Current operations are been maintained by car ferry Canna and a relief 'passenger-only' ferry on Ballycastle-Rathlin Island (Church Bay) route. This passenger-only ferry has replaced the larger Rathlin Express while away in dry-dock. Afloat has identified that this larger fastferry is undergoing works at Mooney Boats in Killybegs.
Spirit of Rathlin will replace Canna, a Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd’s (CMAL). The car ferry since 1997 has served on the Sea of Moyle that separates the mainland and the island.
The ‘Island’ class car ferry named after the Scottish island was built in 1976. Originally the five-car ferry began service for Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) on the Western Isles routes.