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Displaying items by tag: CalMac

#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

#FerryNews - The first passengers to use Scottish operator CalMac’s brand new ferry terminal on Isle of Arran, Firth of Clyde, became a reality on Tuesday with sailings operating to and from Ardrossan, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Ferry, Caledonian Isles made the inaugural berthing at the new terminal in Brodick, the island’s main town on the east coast. The terminal in Brodrick Bay is also a popular scenic anchorage for leisure craft that has included the schooner superyacht Eos. 

The new facility, Afloat adds also incorporates a pier berth-linkspan to cater also for a new dual-fuel ferry powered by liquefied natural gas (LPG) and marine-gas oil (MGO).

The newbuild currently under construction, Glen Sannox (first of a pair) assigned to Arran route, was expected to enter service last summer on the busy short-sea route that takes just under an hour. Due to complex engineering works at the Fergusan Marine Engineering Ltd (FMEL), Port Glasgow, the new 102m ferry has been rescheduled with a debut expected in the second half of 2018.

The ferry terminal project as previously reported in 2016 (see photo) is Arran’s main ferryport and was completed by Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL). The terminal which is an extensive upgrade of the facilities is to be officially opened with details to be released within weeks.

The other island terminal is at Lochranza from where the shorter ferry routes linking Claonaig and Tarbart albeit in the more remote Kintyre Peninsula as distinct to Ardrossan in Ayrshire.

CMAL adds the completion of the £30 million redevelopment project was unexpectedly delayed by an issue relating to the automated door closure on the passenger access system (PAS). The project was substantially complete in summer last year, but the PAS failed to receive its CE mark certification and could not be used. The issue has now been resolved and CE mark certification is in place.

The redevelopment project has completely transformed the terminal, delivering a new pier, an increased marshalling area through reclaimed land and a modern terminal building, with bus stances and parking facilities. It was CMAL’s single biggest port infrastructure construction project delivered.

In addition to CMAL’s role, the project was given support from Transport Scotland, North Ayrshire Council, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and Coastal Communities Fund.

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews – One of the longest serving car ferries of Scottish operator, CalMac, is retiring from west coast service, though a number of sisters remain in Irish waters, writes Jehan Ashmore. 

The MV Raasay built to a landing craft design, whereby vehicle access was only available at the bow (incl. foot passengers) became the last of eight ‘Island’ class delivered during the 1970’s. The small ferry at 69grt served its namesake island located in the Inner Hebrides.

Several of the Island class sisters remain in service following disposal to new owners operating along the Irish western seaboard. These sisters, all beyond their 40th year, maintain island services off counties Donegal and Galway. Afloat will have more on these sisters, though the MV Canna which had served Rathlin Island off Antrim was disposed last year. 

The 75 passenger / 6 vehicle MV Raasay served the Sconser-Raasay route for 21 years from the vessel's launch in 1976 until increased traffic from the island made her unsuitable. From hereon the ferry became one of the CalMac relief vessels until being pressed back into regular service again in 2003 as the winter ferry serving Kilchoan-Tobermory.

The 'Island' class vessels transformed services for CalMac, as they opened up a new route to Arran. In addition to opening two additional routes to Mull and provided a safe and reliable link from Skye to Raasay. Being virtually interchangeable they greatly increased the flexibility of the fleet.

CalMac which is state-owned under the Scottish Government, operates a fleet of 33 vessels serving 27 island and remote mainland communities across the west coast. They are the UK's largest ferry company and last year they carried more than 5.3 million passengers and nearly 1.3 million vehicles.

MV Raasay was handed back to owners Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) who are expected to announce a buyer for the vessel shortly.

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - There are fears that the ferry operating to Arran, Scotland, was docking at Troon because of issues with Ardrossan Harbour have been quashed by Calmac.

As the Herald reports, on Saturday, Calmac sparked debate when confirming that the Caledonian Isles, the current main service ferry for the Ardrossan to Brodick route, was carrying out berthing trials at Troon Harbour (see related recent ro-ro upgrade).

Back in April 2017, the Scottish Government announced that the ferry would be retained in Ardrossan after the predatory move from ABP and Troon Harbour to poach it from North Ayrshire.

A spokesperson for Calmac said: “It’s part of an on-going piece of work we are undertaking to determine which vessels in our fleet fit which harbours. This information is useful as a contingency in case a port of refuge is required. The MV Finnlaggan also berthed at Troon last week as part of this exercise.”

Published in Ferry

#VoteFerryName - A public vote is underway to name the first of a pair of Scottish newbuilds for operator Caledonian MacBrayne. The 102m dual-fuel ferries are to serve Arran on the Forth of Clyde and south-west Scotland, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The pair costing £97m are currently under construction on the Clyde, are designed to provide a fully flexible year-round service for Arran and the Uig Triangle. This is subject to a final review by CalMac Ferries Ltd, Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) and Transport Scotland.

The first of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) and marine diesel fuelled ferries is expected to enter service in early 2018, with the sister following a few months later. Each ferry will carry 127 cars or 16 HGVs or a combination of both and up to 1,000 passengers. In terms of appearance the newbuilds like their existing counterparts will feature twin funnels, see related report.

On introduction they are to replace the oldest of CalMac’s larger ferries, Isle of Arran (see Afloat’s ferry voyage report) and regular island-serving ferry, Caledonian Isles. These ferries will be cascaded throughout the extensive network of 20 routes serving the Inner and Outer Hebrides, a region stretching some 200 miles from Arran to Lewis, makes CalMac the largest ferry operator in the UK.

Among the 32 strong fleet is the ‘Island’ class Canna, albeit on charter from CMAL to Rathlin Ferry Co. The ageing ferry dating to 1976 is soon to be replaced by newbuild Spirit of Rathlin.

Vote from the Shortlist

A shortlist has been selected by the (CMAL) Board and the Scottish Government with help from the Clyde River Steamer Club to reflect the ferry’s Scottish roots. The ferry, currently known as Hull 801, is earmarked for Arran and all names are inspired by the island history and geography.

Shortlisted names for the new ferry are:

Glen Sannox – one of three spectacular valleys on the island, but also the name of the first purpose-built car ferry that serviced the Isle of Arran

Goatfell – the highest point on Arran. On a clear day visitors can see as far as Ireland from its summit Hutton – the name of famous geologist, James Hutton who discovered his theory on the Isle of Arran

Glen Iorsa – the largest valley on the Isle of Arran; steeped in history and a great example of landscape shaped by glaciers

The naming competition (open also to those outside Scotland) was launched recently. To vote in the competition simply go online here and vote for your preferred choice before midnight on Monday 29th May 2017, when voting closes.

The name with the most public votes will be the name of the first LNG ferry.

All of those who voted for the winning name will be entered into a prize draw. One person chosen at random will be invited as a special guest (with a friend) to the launch of the ferry at Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited’s (FMEL) ship yard in Port Glasgow.

The winner will also receive a £200 gift voucher for the Auchrannie Resort, two bottles of commemorative whisky, bottled by Arran Distillery to mark this special occasion, and a special goody bag. Terms and conditions apply.

Please share this with colleagues, friends and family and encourage them to get involved and vote for their favourite name.

To find out more about the 102m dual fuel ferries project visit here.

Published in Ferry

#Aran&Arran – A passenger freightship that served the Aran Islands notably from Galway and a present day car ferry running to Arran, Scotland have similarities, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The custom-built Oileáin Árann (see photo) completed in 1991 at James Miller of St. Monans, on the Firth of Fife, served the Galway-Aran Islands route. The 416 gross tonnage vessel became the last ship to offer a 'direct passenger route' to and from the mid-west city, previously run by CIE’s Naomh Éanna.

Operator, O’Brien Shipping as previously reported sold the almost 40m long Oileáin Árann in 2006 to Icelandic owners Samskip. They converted the small ship to emerge as the ro-ro ferry Sæfari that trades in coastal waters to islands in northern Iceland.

As for the current car ferry operating to Arran, on the Firth of Clyde, the also custom-built Isle of Arran was too built in Scotland but on Clydeside at Ferguson Ailsa Ltd, Port Glasgow. The 3,296 gross tonnage relief ferry operates Ardrossan-Brodick (Arran: see Scotland in miniature) during the summer months. In addition Caledonian Isles operates year round for Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac).

Towards the end of last month, the almost 85m Isle of Arran resumed seasonal Ardrossan-Campbeltown sailings on the Mull of Kintyre. This is the second year since the most southernmost CalMac route was given permanent status following a three year pilot trial. This was to develop traffic and boost tourism to the isolated peninsula a mere 11 nautical miles from Northern Ireland.

Likewise of the former Oileáin Árann, the CalMac pair feature twin funnels and have their names in Scots Gealic. Isle of Aran is translated to Eilean Arainn and as for Caledonian Isles this is Eileanan Chaledonia. The English names are displayed on the hull, while the bi-lingual versions are to seen on the superstructure.

Both these car ferries are to be replaced when the first of a pair of 102m dual-fuel (diesel and LPG) ferries are planned for year-round service for Arran and the Uig Triangle. Construction of the €97m newbuilds is taking place in Port Glasgow at the Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited’s (FMEL) shipyard. The design of these sleek looking newbuilds will again feature twin funnels.

The first newbuild is expected to enter service in early 2018, with the sister following a few months later. Each ferry will carry 127 cars or 16 HGVs or a combination of both and up to 1,000 passengers. 

Published in Ferry

#KintyreService – Operator Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) during 2016 carried more than 5m passengers, began crossings mid-week on the seasonal Ardrossan-Campbeltown route, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Calmac the largest UK ferry operator achieved the 5m figure which was their busiest in more than two decades. A fleet of 32 serve a network of 20 routes stretching 200 miles from the Mull of Kintyre in the south and as far north to the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides.

This will be the second year that Calmac are to operate the Kintyre service on a permanent basis following a three-year pilot period served by Isle of Arran. The 446 passenger, 68 car and 8 lorry capacity vessel returned to the route on Thursday. The southernmost route provides a tourist 'gateway' to the Kintyre Peninsula and a considerable saving on mileage.

In addition Isle of Arran, the oldest of the larger ferry fleet dating to 1984 and based out of Ardrossan is to boost capacity on the busier Forth of Clyde route to Arran. The Ardrossan-Brodick service is maintained year-round by Caledonian Isles that caters for 1,000 passengers, 120 cars and 10 lorries.

As previously reported on Afloat, Campeltown is also where the ‘passenger’ only Kintyre Express service began in Easter seasonal sailings too but to Northern Ireland using Ballycastle. These RIB craft operated crossings to and from the Antrim harbour are also where the Rathlin Ferry Co currently employ Canna, a former Calmac ferry.

The ‘Island’ class Canna dating to 1976, shares the route along with passenger only Rathlin Express, though the car ferry is to be replaced by newbuild Spirit of Rathlin. According to the operator's website, the new car ferry is expected to enter service in a couple of weeks.

Published in Ferry

#ArranRedeployed - Scottish ferry operator, Caledonian MacBrayne is to redeploy a vessel from the Isle of Arran route to Islay and moving another to 24 hour working to increase capacity on the route.

The withdrawal of the Islay serving MV Hebridean Isles for urgent repairs reported last week here on has left the Southern Hebrides island working with a single vessel over the last two weeks.

To ease disruption on the route, CalMac has now familiarised a new crew to operate the MV Finlaggan and the vessel will run an overnight freight service between Islay and Kennacraig, as well as her normal daytime timetable. Large vehicles such as caravans and camper vans will also be moved on to the overnight sailing to free up space during the day.

"We appreciate the inconvenience this ongoing disruption is causing and looked at all the options to address the issues the island is experiencing. This is particularly busy week,with the Islay Show taking place on Thursday, so we need to use the available fleet resources we have at our disposal to meet demand. Unfortunately, this means moving the the MV Isle of Arran off her normal Arran route. We realise this is not ideal, but hope the community on Arran understand the reasons behind this decision and we appreciate their cooperation," said CalMac's director of operations, Drew Collier.

"We feel this is the best solution we have to meet the demands we are currently experiencing across the network."

The MV Isle of Arran will sail the Kennacraig to Islay route begining from tomorrow, Tuesday and also Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

"We will be monitoring this on a daily basis and hopefully the redeployment of the Isle of Arran will be very short term only. Our technical team is working hard to get the Hebridean Isles back in service as quickly as possible and we appreciate people's patience and continuing understanding," added Drew.

Afloat adds while Isle of Arran is redeployed, her Arran fleetmate, M.V. Caledonian Isles will continue to operate sailings as normal on the Ardrossan-Brodick route

Published in Ferry

#Disruption - A Scottish ferry that serves the Southern Hebrides island of Islay had a collision with a pier on the mainland near the end of last month, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The incident involved CalMac’s Hebridean Isles at Kennacraig Pier, Kintyre, this led to the vessel been withdrawn from Islay (Port Ellen /Port Askaig) routes. Hebridean Isles, currently remains under repair with work to the bow, at the Garvel James Watt Dock, Greenock, on the Clyde, operated by the Forth Group.

Ferry services between Kennacraig-Islay have been reduced to one ferry operated by Finlaggan. The disruption during  the high-season, has led to CalMac chartering a cargoship with vehicle bow-loading capability, the Red Princess.

To ease congestion, Red Princess, a former Mediterranean ferry, normally used to carry round timber, is been used to alleviate the backlog of vehicle traffic from Kennacraig to Islay and back while Hebridean Isles is being repaired.

Passengers will not be taken on the Red Princess, however they will be transferred to Finlaggen on the Kennacraig-Islay routes.

Other routes that Hebridean Isles served to the Southern Hebrides (including Colonsay) based out of Oban have been cancelled, however those booked are been transferred to alternative sailings.

Port Ellen, on the southern coast of Islay, is where Kintyre Express operate a service to Ballycastle, Co. Antrim as previously reported on, see Port Snapshot: Campbeltown.

Published in Ferry
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