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Scottish government owned ferry operator CalMac have confirmed the new timetable for the catamaran MV Alfred which is to serve on the Forth of Clyde route between Ardrossan and the Isle of Arran.

According to the Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald, announcement follows a a successful familiarisation period of recent weeks for the ferry which Afloat adds usually operates on the Pentland Firth between the mainland and Orkney Islands.

As previously reported Scottish ministers have chartered the 430 passenger /98 car carrying catamaran for nine months at a cost of £9 million.

The charter from Pentland Ferriesis in a bid to ease the growing ferry crisis on west coast and isles services where technical problems have beset ferries.

Below is a timetable for the catamaran operate until Thursday, 29 June:

Friday – Monday

Depart Ardrossan - 08:00, 11:30 and 16:15
Depart Brodick - 09:45, 13:15 and 18:00

Tuesday – Thursday

Depart Ardrossan - 08:00 and 16:15
Depart Brodick - 09:45 and 18:00

During this time period, CalMac has advised that all passengers will require to access the vessel via the catamaran's stern ramp.

More here on the catamaran's entry into service and for further service information, click the CalMac's website.

Published in Ferry

In south-west Scotland, repairs to the ferry Caledonian Isles in Brodick (Arran) forced the cancellation of two return sailings to Ardrossan on one of CalMac’s busiest routes.

CalMac said a secondary vessel, Isle of Arran, continued to operate on the route.

The operator said later the fault had been fixed and Caledonian Isles would return to service for (yesterday's 14 Sept) 19:20 sailing from Brodick.

CalMac had tweeted (also yesterday): “Due to an issue with the vessel’s starboard main engine which requires further investigations and repairs, the following sailings have now been cancelled: Depart Brodick - 13:55, 16:40, Depart Ardrossan - 15:20, 18:00.”

The fault is the latest to hit the 29-year-old ferry, which was out of service for more than two weeks at the start of the tourist season in mid-April because of an engine failure.

It should have been replaced by the hugely-delayed Glen Sannox four years ago, but the ferry being built at the Ferguson Marine shipyard in Port Glasgow is not now expected to be completed until between March and May 2023.

Sea trials will follow, so the vessel may not be in service until autumn next year, leaving Arran at heightened risk of further disruption for another summer.

More The Scotsman reports of CalMac's ageing fleet. 

Published in Ferry

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
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