Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) has announced Ferguson Shipbuilders, Port Glasgow, Scotland as the preferred bidder for the contract to build the world's first two sea going Roll On Roll Off vehicle and passenger diesel electric hybrid ferries.

Ferguson will be working alongside Glasgow based ship design specialists Seatec and electrical specialists Tec-Source to deliver the project.

The announcement follows confirmation of Scottish Government funding to CMAL for the Low Emission Hybrid Ferries Project in February and the recent tender process, which led to a number of Scottish and European shipyards submitting responses for the contract.

The project will provide a boost for commercial shipbuilding on the Clyde - it has been over four years since the last commercial ship was fully built and delivered. It will not only secure around 75 existing jobs in the Port Glasgow and Inverclyde area, but create around 100 more. In addition, Ferguson Shipbuilders is expected to create 20 new apprenticeships directly as a result of the contract.

The contracts, when signed between CMAL and Ferguson, will see two hybrid ferries built to accommodate 150 passengers, 23 cars or 2 HGVs, with a service speed of nine knots.

The ferries, which will be operated by the current operator of the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services, CalMac Ferries, are designed for use on many of the short crossing routes around the Clyde and Hebrides and will use some of the most innovative new ‘green’ technology, including battery banks supplying a minimum of 20% of the energy consumed on board.

The vessel will be powered by small diesel generator sets, feeding power to a 400 volt switchboard, which will supply power to electric propulsion motors that turn the propellers. In addition the battery banks will provide power to operate the vessel.

Benefits of the hybrid ferries include reduced fuel consumption and impact of CO2 emission and other pollutants, noise reduction and lower maintenance requirements.

The ferries will charge overnight while they are moored on the islands they will serve and it is hoped that in the future energy from local wind, wave or solar systems will be used to charge the batteries, making the process even more environmentally friendly.  

It is anticipated that the first vessel will enter service in late spring/early summer 2013, with the second following six months later. It is likely that the first ship will initially serve on the Sconser- Raasay route, subject to modifications being carried out at Sconser.

Guy Platten, Chief Executive of CMAL commented: “This project provides a fantastic commercial opportunity for Scottish shipbuilding and we are delighted to announce Ferguson as the preferred bidder for the contract to build the world's first sea going RORO passenger hybrid ferry.

“CMAL is committed to leading the way in innovative ferry design and building for the future and we hope to see the first of these vessels in operation in early 2013.”

Commenting at the official announcement today (3 November) at Ferguson Shipyard in Port Glasgow, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure & Capital Investment Alex Neil said: “I’m delighted to announce that we have awarded Ferguson Shipbuilders with a £20m contract to build the world’s first hybrid ferries, which will not only secure around 75 existing jobs in the Port Glasgow and Inverclyde area, but create around 100 more. In addition we expect Ferguson to create around 20 new apprenticeships directly as a result of this contract.

“This award is a perfect illustration of how we are making good on our commitment to create the vital jobs needed to boost local economies and crucially, to help stimulate growth across Scotland.

“The two new ferries will come into operation in 2013 and are the first sea going ferries in the world to incorporate a low-carbon hybrid system of diesel and electric power.

“The technology will be cleaner, quieter and cheaper to operate and maintain than ever before. It will help Scotland to meet our ambitious climate change targets, and demonstrates the vast economic potential of developing green technology and moving to a low carbon economy.

“Today we should celebrate that Scotland’s world renowned engineering skills made famous on the banks of the Clyde will not only continue as a direct result of the new jobs the contract will create, but flourish when a new generation of skilled shipbuilders soon begin their apprenticeships.“

Richard Deane, Managing Director of Ferguson Shipbuilders Ltd added: “The Clyde has a proud shipbuilding heritage and it is wonderful to be part of such a ground breaking project, which will see the world’s first hybrid ferries sailing in Scotland.

“The project will have a major impact on the local economy, including the creation of a number of new jobs throughout the course of the build and we look forward to signing the contracts and starting work in due course.”

Notes to Editors
1.    Further details and a timeline for development will be issued once the details of the contract have been finalised.

2.    CMAL own property at piers and harbours at more than 24 locations throughout Scotland and is embarking on a programme of investment and improvements, which will create better facilities.

3.    In addition to its pier and harbour facilities, CMAL owns 30 ferries, which are leased to CalMac Ferries Ltd for use on ferry services on the Clyde and Hebrides.

4.    CMAL is a publicly owned company with Scottish Ministers as the sole shareholder.

5.    For more information about CMAL visit: www.cmassets.co.uk

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Elise McDonald
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Golley Slater
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