Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Displaying items by tag: CalMac

The largest ferry operator in Scotland, state-owned Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) is to spend more than £9 million targeted at vessel resilience in a response to challenges of an increasing average age of fleet.

According to CalMac, this is in addition to the annual planned maintenance expenditure to ensure every vessel is ready for another year of supporting communities across the west coast. The resilience programme is more than double the amount spent last year.

Including inter-island services, CalMac runs a total of 49 routes served by 33 vessels each of which is required to undergo a period of annual dry dock maintenance.

'Trying to ensure that every vessel gets the proper levels of maintenance and upgrades, while keeping lifeline ferry services running is an extremely complex operation,' said CalMac's Director of Asset Management, Julie Philpott.

'Not all vessels are suitable for every route and harbour, meaning the matrix we need to design to ensure service continuity is long in the planning.'

'We try where we can, within the resources available to us, to provide as seamless a service as possible during this period, matching suitable vessels to cover routes. But getting every vessel in for maintenance requires us to do a certain amount of manoeuvring. We try and keep inconvenience to a minimum, and hope the travelling public can understand why we have to make the vessel changes that we do at this time of year.'

The £9 million investment is being targeted at vessel resilience in a fleet which on average is increasingly ageing. This is in addition to the annual planned maintenance expenditure to ensure every vessel is ready for another year of supporting communities across the west coast. The resilience programme  is more than double the amount spent last year.

Including inter-island services, CalMac runs a total of 49 routes served by 33 vessels each of which is required to undergo a period of annual dry dock maintenance.

'Trying to ensure that every vessel gets the proper levels of maintenance and upgrades, while keeping lifeline ferry services running is an extremely complex operation,' said CalMac's Director of Asset Management, Julie Philpott.

'Not all vessels are suitable for every route and harbour, meaning the matrix we need to design to ensure service continuity is long in the planning.'

'We try where we can, within the resources available to us, to provide as seamless a service as possible during this period, matching suitable vessels to cover routes. But getting every vessel in for maintenance requires us to do a certain amount of manoeuvring. We try and keep inconvenience to a minimum, and hope the travelling public can understand why we have to make the vessel changes that we do at this time of year.'

On top of the regular cyclical planned maintenance CalMac are carrying out more then 90 major projects to the fleet this year. This includes new engines on the MV Loch Striven and Loch Tarbert, replacement pitch control systems on the MV Clansman and Isle of Lewis, a new bow thruster on the MV Hebridean Isles (above: photo/story at Kennacraig), replacement ramps and new generators on various vessels.

'For those not involved in the refit process the sheer scale of the tasks involved is hard to picture. Last year we fitted more then 11km of electrical wiring and this year new CCTV networks and pitch control systems alone will see 18km of new cable installed,' said Julie.

'Some communities may lose their regular vessel for longer periods due to the scale of the work being carried out this winter. However, this additional time out of timetable will help support delivery of a more resilient service in the long term. Customers will be able to see meaningful improvements in service,' she added.

Work on the vessels is carried out at yards in Greenock, Troon, Liverpool, Ardmaliesh, Leith and Aberdeen. The North Sea port Afloat adds is where NorthLink Ferries operated by private company Serco last month was awarded a £450m contract from the Scottish Government to continue serving Orkney and the Shetland Islands. 

Since the announcement, according to BBC News, CalMac is challenging the Scottish government's decision not to give it a contract to run Northern Isles ferries.

Serco won a six-year contract in 2012 and it was named the preferred bidder to continue the service. However CalMac, which is owned by the Scottish government, says its tender was cheaper than Serco's.

For more on the report from last month click here.

Published in Ferry

A former Aran Islands passenger-only ferry, Argyll Flyer has returned with a new corporate livery following annual dry docking in Scotland to the Gourock-Dunoon route on the Clyde.

Afloat adds the former Queen of Aran II was custom built for Inis Mor Ferries (no longer in existance) and later sold to Aran Island Ferries. The 227 passenger ferry has recently been rebranded as a Caledonian MacBrayne vessel.

According to CalMac the new look sees the iconic black and red livery and follows as Afloat previously reported Argyll Ferries incorporation into the operator's Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service contract.

As well as a repaint during refit, CalMac say the vessel has had all new upper deck seating installed, new thermal insulation fitted in the passenger saloon, as well as an overhaul to the engine, gearbox, steering, electrics and propellers.

Launched in 2001 at OCEA shipyard at Les Sables-d'Olonne in France, the 178 tonne Queen of Aran II served between the Aran Islands and Rossaveal, Co. Galway and subsequently with Aran Island Ferries before transferring to Argyll Ferries in 2011. 

CalMac Ferries managing director, Robbie Drummond said: 'I'm delighted to welcome MV Argyll Flyer back into service in her new livery ready for another busy year. Incorporating this service into the CalMac family will allow us to concentrate efforts on developing service improvements over time to help drive more traffic in support of the Dunoon economy.'

Transport Scotland have indicated improved harbour facilities for passengers will be considered on the route in the future, including the possible introduction of electric vehicle and electric bike hubs at both ferry terminals, as well as developing the ferry service to encourage active travel users.

The other vessel serving the route, MV Alicat, will be rebranded when will undergoe an annual dry dock service later in the year.

Afloat adds that a current Aran Island serving ferry, Glor Na Farraige also operated by Aran Island Ferries went for a refit in Co. Donegal at Mooney Boats boatyard in Killybegs. The work which took place in recent weeks involved shot blasting and painting of the 255 passenger ferry.

Likewise of Arygll Flyer, this ferry was also built in France when launched in 1985 as a 37m metre Wavemaster monohull vessel.

Published in Ferry

On the Isle of Arran in Scotland, business owners have vented their fury over the loss of revenue and disruption to trade they say has been caused by the increasing unreliability of the island’s lifeline ferry service.

Islanders have told The Herald that a project which repositioned the harbour at Brodick, part of a £31 million investment to accommodate a new ferry for the Arran to Ardrossan route, has led to a spike in cancellations.

For more on this story on the Firth of Clyde route in south-west Scotland click here.

A second route albeit seasonal is based out of Ardrossan to Campbeltown on the Mull of Kintyre which Afloat featured in recent years.

Published in Ferry

#ferries - A pair of long-awaited lifeline ferries to serve Scotland's island communities have been delayed indefinitely and it could add millions of pounds to the cost of the £97m project, a senior minister has revealed.

One of the ferries, MV Glenn Sannox - writes The Herald is destined for the Ardrossan-Arran route was due to enter service last summer but construction delays meant that was initially put back to this summer.

The second vessel, known as Hull 802, was supposed to be delivered to CalMac in the autumn of last year for use on the Uig-Lochmaddy-Tarbert triangle, and had then been due to be delivered in the Spring of next year.

It comes as it emerged as ferry builders Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd (FMEL) and project overseers Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) are involved in a contractual dispute over costs.

The new ‘dual fuel’ boats, which can use both diesel and liquified natural gas, are being built by Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd, owned by Monaco-based billionaire Jim McColl, a member of the First Minister’s council of economic advisers.

And the Scottish Government has confirmed there has been a delay on even these delays. Click here for further reading on the story. 

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - A Scottish ferry company has been named 'Ferry Operator of the Year 2018' at an awards ceremony which was also open to entries from those serving ports in Ireland and the UK, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The winner, Calmac, which operates to the Scottish western isles was presented at the recently held National Transport Awards in London. 

Those who entered needed to demonstrate how they have improved services and facilities over the year. This included results that have been achieved across performance and reliability, passenger growth, and customer satisfaction.

Commenting on the award, CalMac managing director, Robbie Drummond said, "This is an award for all our staff in recognition that no matter what challenges we face, whether it be extreme weather conditions or vessel availability, they will always provide the best possible service for our customers".

"Last year was another historical high for carryings. Overall in the five years to 2017, passenger numbers have gone up by 17% and vehicles by 37%".

Mr. Drummond added "Our core market is the lifeline services we provide to communities across the area we support, but the popularity of our services with visitors is growing year on year. This is a huge recognition that our people can continue to provide a first class customer experience in the face of booming numbers travelling with us"

ARRAN on Firth of Clyde - CalMac's most popular route

Among CalMac's extensive route network of 26 routes serving island and remote mainland locations is to the Isle of Arran on Firth of Clyde. The island dubbed as Scotland in miniature (see report) is near to the large population 'central belt' of Glasgow and Edinburgh and of the route network is the nearest to Northern Ireland.

The short-sea 55 minute route of Brodick-Arran,(new terminal opened this year) had the highest number of passengers with 844,198 travelling in 2017.

As the National reports, the figures were obtained by the local member of the Scottish parliament, Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch.

The next best performing routes was Largs to Millport (745,619), Wemyss Bay to Rothesay (713,906), Oban to Craignure (670,248) and Mallaig to Armadale (285,483).

The Scottish National Party (SNP) member however hit back at Labour's criticism of new CalMac ferry delays (click here) in addition to previous coverage on Afloat.

Last year, CalMac carried more than 5.3 million passengers, an increase of 300,000, and nearly 1.4 million vehicles.

For further reading on this story click, here.

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - A ferry firm state-owned by the Scottish Government has insisted it will not pay any extra cash for two new car-ferries being built to serve Scotland’s island communities, despite the work running over time and over budget.

As The Nationalist writes, Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL), which is responsible for buying and leasing ferries for operators CalMac, revealed it had known for more than 15 months that “things were not going to plan” with the construction of the vessels.

The Ferguson Marine shipyard in Port Glasgow won the £97 million contract to build the ferries – which will be the first in the world to run on a dual fuel system using both diesel and liquefied natural gas. For further reading on the newspapars story, click here.

First of the newbuilds, Afloats adds, named Glen Sannox following a competition was launched earlier this year at the Clydeside shipyard. The pair are designed to provide a fully flexible year-round service for the Ardrossan-Arran Island service and the Uig Triangle. 

Earlier this year a new terminal on Arran was opened in advance of this summer. Sailings are served by Caledonian Isles and during the high-season support came from the veteran Isle of Arran (see Afloat’s ferry voyage report)

The CalMac route on the Firth of Clyde is the most southerly 'year-round' operated service. 

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews -  A pair of ferries being built on the Clyde, Scotland for the publicly owned operator CalMac in a £100 million deal have been hit by new delays, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

As The National reports, the roll-on roll-off car and passenger vessels for the Clyde and Hebrides network are being built at Ferguson Marine Engineering at Port Glasgow.

The MV Glen Sannox, launched last year, was initially due to be delivered in May but was pushed back to this winter. Its completion date is now June 2019 and it is due to enter service on the Ardrossan-Arran (see new terminal) route around two months later, after sea trials.

For further reading on the delays to the newbuilds, click here. 

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - In south-west Scotland, the Arran Ferry Committee has urged the powers that be to keep the ferry travelling to Ardrossan during the planned upgrades at the Harbour.

The committee met on Monday, May 14 and numerous groups, businesses and stakeholders were present, including five Calmac representatives.

Last month the (Scottish) Herald exclusively revealed that Calmac wanted the ferry to move to Troon during harbour upgrades but none of the other members of the Ardrossan Harbour Taskforce shared this view, with local MSP Kenneth Gibson vehemently against the move.

On Monday’s, Mr Gibson made his opposition to any move clear and asked for the views of the committee and Calmac. None of the Calmac representatives said they knew enough about the Ardrossan Harbour redevelopment to give an opinion, although they said ‘safety came first.’

For more news on the Firth of Clyde ferry service, click here. 

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - Scottish ferry operator, Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) wants the Ardrossan to Brodick,Arran service to relocate to Troon during harbour upgrades, the Herald can exclusively reveal.

But stakeholders on the Ardrossan Harbour Taskforce are keen to see the ferry stay put, even when work is being carried out – with other locals saying that any move to Troon sets a dangerous precedent.

And at the height of the ‘Save Our Ferry’ campaign last year, the MV Isle of Arran struck the sea wall at Troon Harbour whilst attempting to seek refuge.

That put a huge dent in the ‘Choose Troon’ campaign from the businesses in the town and the port owners, ABP, Associated British Ports.

To read more on this development, click here and for related story on Calmac's ageing fleet 

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - Passengers may face delays and disruption this summer as Scottish operator, CalMac struggles to keep ageing ferries running.

As The National reports, the operator is preparing for what it believes will be its busiest tourist season on record.

However, interim managing director Robbie Drummond says older boats may struggle under the “strain”.

Last year more than five million people, almost 1.5 million cars and 80,000 coaches used the network.

Eight of CalMac’s 30-strong fleet have been sailing for more than three decades, with the average age of all carriers topping 20 years, and the company says problems with one ferry could create disruption on other routes.

Click link here and scroll down for more of the story. 

Published in Ferry
Page 1 of 3

About boot Düsseldorf: With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. From 18 to 26 January 2020, around 2,000 exhibitors will be presenting their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

At A Glance – Boot Dusseldorf 

Organiser
Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
Messeplatz
40474 Düsseldorf
Tel: +49 211 4560-01
Fax: +49 211 4560-668
Web: https://www.boot.com/

The first boats and yachts will once again be arriving in December via the Rhine.

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2020

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating