Ferry users are invited to support the development process for the design of a new passenger-only vessel by sharing their views on the work undertaken to date and the shortlisted options for the new concept vessel.

Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) is leading the project to design and build new passenger ferries to replace the vessels currently operating on routes between Gourock, Dunoon and Kilcreggan.

Those who are interested in having their say can find out more about development work to date, design concepts and options, and access the online survey form at www.cmassets.co.uk/project/gourock/

CMAL has also delivered hard copies of the presentation to Dunoon Library and views and opinions can be shared in writing to CMAL, Dunoon Concept Vessel, Municipal Buildings, Fore Street, Port Glasgow PA14 5EQ.

The vessel design and build project is part of a wider programme of work, involving CMAL, CalMac, Transport Scotland and Argyll & Bute Council, to improve infrastructure at harbours at Gourock, Dunoon and Kilcreggan, and to build new passenger vessels for routes between the three ports.

Regular engagement with the community has been delivered through a project reference group, which is attended by councillors and community council members from each area. Reference group members have represented community interests at early meetings, and the online survey has been launched to consult more widely on work carried out to date and shortlisted options for the future concept vessel.

CMAL’s ship designers and naval architects have been working with engineering firm BMT since January this year to develop concept designs. The team is focused on providing a resilient and reliable service while reducing carbon emissions. Work is ongoing on the evaluation of energy efficiency solutions.

A range of vessel options have been considered and analysed, and two options have emerged as front runners based on an appraisal against a range of criteria, including safety, reliability, speed, capacity and sustainability.

Andy Crossan, senior technical manager and projects director at CMAL, said:

“We are still very much in the concept assessment stage of this project. Lots of work has been done on scoping out various options that meet passenger and operator requirements, as well as safety, maritime regulations and environmental factors. Now is a good time for us to update the community on work to date and to seek their views on the direction of the project. Community feedback will be considered when making a decision on the final preferred option and in the subsequent development of that option.”

Once feedback has been analysed and further technical assessment completed, the preferred option will be announced in January 2022.

The current consultation is for design and options for the passenger vessel only. Community consultation exercises for the harbour upgrades at Dunoon and Kilcreggan will be conducted separately by Argyll & Bute Council in early 2022.

CMAL has a significant plan of vessel and harbour investment underway, backed by a £580 million commitment from the Scottish Government for an initial five-year period from 2021 to 2026.  Plans will deliver 21 new vessels for the fleet and multi-million-pound upgrade of harbour infrastructure over the next 10 years.

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