Scottish island ferry successfully launched

MV Isle of Islay has successfully launched at the Cemre Marin Endustri shipyard in Yalova, Turkey

THE MV Isle of Islay, the first of two vessels to serve Islay and Jura, was launched today (Saturday 16 March) at Cemre Marin Endustri shipyard in Yalova, Turkey.

The vessel, which is one of four ferries being built at the yard, marks a significant milestone in Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited’s (CMAL) commitment to delivering new ferries to serve the Scottish islands.

Representatives of CMAL and key project stakeholders were in attendance, and Morag McNeill, Chair of CMAL, officially launched the ferry.

Scheduled for delivery in October 2024, the vessel will have capacity for up to 450 passengers and 100 cars, or 14 commercial vehicles.  It will provide a combined 40% increase in vehicle and freight capacity on the Islay routes, bolstering the overall resilience of the wider fleet.

Work will continue onboard the vessel while it is in the water, before it undergoes sea trials and is handed over to owners, CMAL. Crew familiarisation and local operational trials will then take place upon her arrival from Turkey, before the MV Isle of Islay enters service.

An official naming ceremony will take place on Islay towards the end of the year, where community representatives and stakeholders will be invited to board and tour the vessel to celebrate its arrival before it officially joins the fleet.

Kevin Hobbs, Chief Executive Officer at CMAL, said: “The successful launch of the MV Isle of Islay marks a major milestone in the vessel’s construction. It’s wonderful to see her in the water. We look forward to marking the official naming of the ferry, MV Isle of Islay, at the event later this year as we welcome her to Scottish waters.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, said: “I’m delighted to see MV Isle of Islay enter the water and look forward to her arrival in Scotland later this year. I know she will be warmly welcomed by the communities she will serve.

“This is another important milestone reached in the Scottish Government’s commitment to deliver six new major vessels to serve the Clyde and Hebrides network by 2026.

“With MV Isle of Islay progressing towards delivery in October, and her sister ship MV Loch Indaal following soon after, ferry users can anticipate more reliable and resilient services with increased capacity for the Islay routes from 2025. I look forward to seeing these and more new vessels being added to the fleet in the coming years and bringing improvements for island communities across the Clyde and Hebrides network.”

Robbie Drummond, Chief Executive of CalMac, said: “We are very much looking forward to welcoming MV Isle of Islay into our fleet. When she enters service, she will deliver a real step change in resilience and capacity for the community of Islay enabling future growth.”

The second vessel for Islay and Jura is due to be launched at Cemre later this year.

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