MV Loch Seaforth
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New ferry announced
We announced in June 2012 that a contract had been formally signed to build a new £41.8 million Stornoway - Ullapool ferry. The decision to move to a single replacement vessel followed a Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance procedure and a subsequent detailed technical and financial analysis, as well as an extensive community consultation to examine options for future ferry provisions on the route. These included plans for services when the existing freight vessel, MV MUIRNEAG, was withdrawn from the route, which happened in October 2013.
The new 116m roll on roll off vehicle passenger ferry will be capable of operating 24 hours a day and will have a capacity of up to 700 passengers and 143 cars or 20 commercial vehicles.
The superior designed new vessel will be:
- Be faster, quieter and more reliable than current vessels
- Be adaptable to accommodate growth in traffic
- Consume a quarter less fuel than the consumption of the MV Isle of Lewis and MV Muirneag
The ship is being built at Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft MBH and Co KG - Flensburg, Germany. Financing is being provided by Lloyds Bank’s Corporate Asset Finance team. We will enter into an operating lease with Lloyds Bank and following delivery, CMAL will charter the vessel to the operator of the route.
Transport Minister, Keith Brown, commentated
“The cutting edge design means the new vessel will be more fuel efficient and use a quarter less fuel than the combined fuel consumption of both vessels currently in operation. The new vessel will also incorporate new enhanced technical reliability which will allow maintenance during operation in turn minimising down time.”
We have been working closely with Ullapool Harbour trustees to insure the necessary port infrastructure is in place for the new vessel.
A name is chosen
The ship will be known as MV LOCH SEAFORTH, following a competition open to the public in April 2013. The winning name attracted 40 per cent of the votes. The winning vote, picked at random from almost 2,000 people was Mary Davidson from the Isle of Lewis who will attend the launch as a special guest.
Loch Seaforth is a sea loch between Lewis and Harris. The previous MV Loch Seaforth was the name of the MacBrayne mailboat that linked Stornoway with Mallaig and Kyle of Lochalsh from 1947 until 1972. On 22 March 1973 she ran aground on Cleit Rock in the Sound of Gunna and was subsequently scrapped.
Cutting of the steel
The first piece of steel was cut on the 16 September 2013 for the MV LOCH SEAFORTH, marking the start of construction on the new vessel.
The first steel-cutting ceremony took place at Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft MBH and Co KG shipyard in Flensburg, Germany, where the ship is being built. Andy Robertson and Nick Johnson from Lloyd’s Banking Group, joined our CEO Guy Platten and Andrew Duncan, Director of Vessels at CMAL to push the button to start the steel cutting machine.
Guy Platten commented: “Today’s steel cutting marks an exciting stage of the ferry building process as work gets underway on construction of the vessel.
The steel cut today is from block A03, which will form part of the ship’s hull near to the stern.
Keel laying ceremony
An important stage in the build of the MV Loch Seaforth happened on 3rd February 2014 with the laying of the keel, when the component parts of the ship are brought together in the first time. This marks the end of the fit out in the dry dock and the ship is in the final preparation stages for her launch on 21st March 2014.
The MV LOCH SEAFORTH was launched into the water on 21st March 2014 following a short launch ceremony and was officially named by her Godmother Joan Murray. Joan is the eldest daughter of the late Captain John Smith, of the original MV LOCH SEAFORTH which was the MacBrayne mailboat that linked Stornoway with Mallaig and Kyle of Lochalsh from 1947 until 1972.
Over the coming months, the engines will be fitted and outfitting will begin, followed by harbour and sea trials before the vessel is completed and certified in late summer 2014.
A specially labelled version of Gordon and McPhail single malt whisky has been produced to mark the launch of the ferry, a bottle of which was smashed against the vessel to officially launch it.
Commenting on the launch of MV LOCH SEAFORTH, Grenville Johnston, our Chairman said: “The launch is a very exciting stage of MV LOCH SEAFORTH’s build. This vessel is a fantastic new addition to the fleet and will serve one of our island communities for many years to come. We look forward to welcoming her to Scotland later this year.”
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “Today’s launch is an exciting landmark for the MV LOCH SEAFORTH as she moves a step closer to entering service. The vessel will offer passengers, cars and commercial vehicles using the Stornoway-Ullapool route a faster, quieter and more comfortable service and has been designed to accommodate the forecast demand on the route. I am sure the vessel will serve the future needs of all local users and the many visitors to the Western Isles.
Brian Fulton, Operations Director of CalMac Ferries Ltd said: “It is fantastic to see the progress made on the build of the MV LOCH SEAFORTH. She is looking very impressive. We at CalMac cannot wait to have the MV LOCH SEAFORTH join our fleet later this year.”
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