Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) has awarded a £1m contract to Dales Marine Services Ltd in Leith to modify the MV Utne and bring her in line with UK marine regulations.
Work will be carried out to manufacture and install a new ramp, replace lifejackets and other lifesaving appliance items to ensure they meet UK standards. It will also include an upgrade to the marine evacuation system and life raft deployment, the purchase of capital spares as well as mooring works.
The modifications are expected to be completed by early 2022, with the CalMac crew then undergoing onboard training and familiarisation.
The MV Utne has been earmarked for the Oban-Craignure route, and communities in Skye and the Western Isles will also benefit as a result of the cascade of vessels elsewhere on the network. Engagement work will take place with key stakeholders to develop detailed deployment, cascade and related timetables for the 2022 summer season.
Kevin Hobbs, chief executive of CMAL said:
“Taking delivery of MV Utne is a positive step towards bringing extra resilience to the fleet. The vessel requires some modifications to ensure she gains Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) approval to operate in Scottish waters, which differs from Norwegian regulations.
“Once Dales Marine has completed the work and the CalMac team have had familiarisation training, she will be a valuable addition to our fleet.
“We’re currently running a competition to decide her new name, and encourage anyone who would like to get involved to visit our website to cast their vote.”
Minister for Transport Graeme Dey said:
“This contract award is another welcome step towards the MV Utne entering into service on the Clyde and Hebrides network and will bring much needed resilience to the service.
“It’s also pleasing to see a local company win the contract to carry out the vessel modifications.
“The purchase of the MV Utne is part of our committed £580 million commitment to fund new ferries and port investments over the next five years. We continue to work with CMAL and CalMac to develop potential programmes that will deliver additional improvements to the network.”
Michael Milne, CEO for Dales Marine Services Ltd, said:
“We are delighted to have been awarded this comprehensive scope of works enabling the vessel to be aligned with UK regulations for passenger ferries and enabling the vessel to join the CalMac fleet next year”.