All Eyes on Your New Ferries

Kevin Hobbs, Chief Executive of CMAL

Vessel names are important. They should resonate with the communities where they are destined to serve and foster pride in maritime traditions.

Already in 2023, we have chosen names for two vessels with the help of ferry users—see details below—and we have a further three to be named later this year.

In spring, and with welcome support from the people of Islay and Jura, we created a shortlist of six names for the first two vessels being built in Turkey to go into service on these routes. Each has ties to the landscape and history of both islands. A public vote followed, with over 1300 people taking the time to do so. If you were one of them, thank you for getting involved; you have played a part in Scottish maritime history.

Last month, we visited Cemre shipyard in Turkey to mark two important milestones –keel laying for the newly named MV Loch Indaal, and steel cutting of the as-yet-unnamed first vessel for the Little Minch. We invited the BBC to come along to capture the occasion, who published news articles on their website, shared stories on social media, and broadcast live from Turkey.

All four Turkish-built ferries will have a clear focus on freight and capacity for up to 450 passengers and 100 cars, or 14 commercial vehicles. This will provide a combined 40% increase in vehicle and freight capacity on the Islay routes and improve the wider fleet’s overall resilience.

Hull 802, the sister ship of Glen Sannox, recently had her wheelhouse craned into position—a major milestone—and is 80% structurally complete. Her launch is scheduled to take place later in the year and will follow Glen Sannox into passenger service in late 2024, serving Arran.

In the next few weeks we will be launching the naming competition for Hull 802. We will have a shortlist of names ( decided with help from islanders and local communities) for voters to choose from – so keep an eye on our website for more information and don’t forget to cast your vote.

With your help, the third and fourth Turkish-built vessels will also be named in due course, destined to provide ferry services on Little Minch routes between Uig on Skye, Lochmaddy in North Uist and Tarbert on Harris.

Back in Port Glasgow, work on Glen Sannox is accelerating as the Ferguson Marine team complete the interior fit-out, supported by CMAL colleagues seconded to the yard. We look forward to her being handed over to CalMac for extensive sea trials when ready.

Elsewhere, the CMAL Board of Directors visited Uig, North Uist and Harris earlier this month and met with representatives from CalMac, Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar, Transport Scotland, The Harris Transport Forum and other members of the community to discuss our work, current challenges, and future plans.

Summer 2023 Newsletter — Harbour spotlight: Castlebay, Barra →

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