CMAL has launched their public vote to name the new Islay Vessels

Port Ellen

CALEDONIAN Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) is calling for the public’s help to decide the names of the two new ferries for Islay.

CMAL, which owns the vessels, has produced a shortlist of names with ties to the landscape and history of Islay and Jura. Voters can then select their two favourites from the list, and the two most popular names will be given to the sister vessels.  

The shortlisted names are:

  • Isle of Islay – the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland.
  • Pioneer – a ferry built in 1974 serving West Loch Tarbert and Port Ellen on Islay. She was the longest vessel to operate this far up the loch.
  • Loch Gruinart – a sea loch on the north coast of Islay.
  • Loch Indaal – a sea loch south of Loch Gruinart, and inspiration for the folk song – “The Lights of Lochindaal” by Iain Simpson.
  • Laggan Bay – home to ‘The Big Strand’, a five-mile-long beach, located on the southeast entrance to Loch Indaal.
  • Machir Bay – a small bay on the west coast of Islay.

Anybody with an interest in the ferries is welcome to vote here, and can do so from today, Monday 24th April 2023 until midnight on 14th May 2023.

Kevin Hobbs, Chief Executive of CMAL said: “The two new vessels for Islay and Jura will be a welcome addition to our fleet of vessels – however they are currently nameless!

“We have a strong list of names with ties to the communities the sister ships will serve, and I look forward to seeing which ones prove most popular.”

Minister for Transport Kevin Stewart said: 

“I’d encourage the public to have their say on the names for these two new vessels, which will bring welcome additional resilience for our island communities served by the Islay routes.

“These links are some of the busiest services for freight on the Clyde and Hebrides network so it’s a great opportunity for local communities to get involved by picking from the shortlisted names with links to Islay and Jura.

“These new vessels underline the Scottish Government’s commitment to bringing in new ferries and we want to continue to see progress on bringing vessels into service on time and budget.”

Work is progressing well at Cemre Shipyard on the ferries, with delivery expected towards the end of 2024 for vessel one, and early 2025 for vessel two.

The ferries have a clear focus on freight, as well as sufficient passenger accommodation to meet anticipated demand, with capacity for up to 450 passengers and 100 cars, or 14 commercial vehicles. This will provide a combined 40% increase in vehicle and freight capacity on the Islay routes, and will improve the overall resilience of the wider fleet.

The Islay vessels form part of a programme of investment by CMAL, funded through Scottish Government commitments to capital investment of around £700 million in ferry infrastructure and related services over the five years from 2021 to 2026.  Wider plans will deliver other new small and major vessels for the fleet and upgrades of harbour infrastructure with future options being considered through the emerging Islands Connectivity Plan.

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