A six-week programme of ground investigation works is set to begin from Monday 24 October at Kennacraig, Port Ellen, Port Askaig and Colonsay ferry terminals.
Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) is leading plans to upgrade infrastructure at the ferry terminals in advance of the arrival of two new Islay ferries. The upgrades include dredging, fendering, provision for mooring aids and shore power facilities.
The ground investigation work will assess the condition of the ground at each terminal and will be used to inform the final design and details of the port infrastructure upgrades.
Work will start at Kennacraig on 24 October, followed by Port Ellen on 31 October for two weeks, with Port Askaig scheduled to begin mid-November and Colonsay later that month. Dates are subject to progress at each site and weather conditions.
The ferry timetable will not be affected by the works and no major disruptions are expected.
Nasir Uddin, senior civil engineer at CMAL, said:
“These are essential investigation works to inform the design of upgrades and improvements needed to accommodate the two new vessels. The new vessels will be longer with deeper draught and higher displacement than the current vessels, and some changes are required.
“Local residents and port users may experience some minor inconvenience on-site, but we expect this to be managed easily. We thank them in advance for their patience.”
The port infrastructure work is expected to begin during 2023.
Two new 94.8-metre vessels are being built at Cemre shipyard in Turkey. A steel-cutting ceremony took place on 3 October, marking the start of the build stage. The first vessel is expected to be delivered by October 2024 and will enter service following sea trials and crew familiarisation. The second vessel will follow in early 2025. They will bring an increase in vehicle and freight capacity to the Islay routes, a reduction in emissions and improve the resilience of the wider fleet.
A major terminal upgrade project is also underway at Port Ellen Ferry Terminal. The terminal development project will increase the vehicle marshalling area, increase staff and visitor parking, improve port operations for commercial use, improve passenger access to vessels, and deliver a new terminal building.