Spring 2024


From the helm

Hear from CMAL’s Chief Executive, Kevin Hobbs

News and views

Catch up with the latest CMAL news

Harbour spotlight

This time, we visit Wemyss Bay in Inverclyde

Behind the scenes

Cultivating Collaboration

Water we up to?

Take a closer look at some of CMAL’s live projects

Picture this

Seas the day—our photos from the past few months

From the helm

—Kevin Hobbs, Chief Executive of CMAL

As we transition into spring, our commitment to our island communities remains unwavering. The last few months have seen a period of significant progress, from the launch of the MV Isle of Islay to imminent launch of MV Glen Rosa and the successful builder’s sea trials of MV Glen Sannox. We have also seen infrastructure work progress well, with the Islay Vessels Enabling Works (IVEW) reaching new milestones alongside the delivery of our public engagement events to update local communities on planned upgrade work.

One of the most notable highlights of the quarter was the successful launch of the MV Isle of Islay last weekend (16 March). This was a landmark moment for CMAL, as we celebrated the culmination of dedicated efforts to see the first of the four vessels being constructed in Turkey leave the slipway and enter the water.

She’s scheduled to enter service at the end of this year, and we look forward to celebrating with local communities when she arrives in Scottish waters. Her sister vessel, MV Loch Indaal, is due to launch this Summer, and we know they will be a welcome addition to the fleet.

Closer to home, the MV Glen Sannox’s builder’s sea trials were a resounding success. She took to the River Clyde to test her propulsion, navigation systems and ship handling. Witnessing the first ship built in the UK to have dual fuel capabilities set sail, with crowds lining the riverbank to watch, was a celebratory moment for all parties involved.

Within our infrastructure team, progress continues on the work to prepare Kennacraig, Port Askaig and Colonsay for the arrival of the two new vessels for Islay.

Work at Port Askaig and Colonsay is set to commence in early Summer, while work at Kennacraig is progressing well. Modification of the fixed ramp structure on the North berth has improved its operational availability, and all services are now operating from it whilst works are being completed on the South berth.

Finally, we are mindful of the impact caused by the ongoing challenges in the Red Sea. Many vessels carrying supplies for our IVEW projects are re-routing around the Horn of Africa, and we remain vigilant in our efforts to navigate these challenges effectively to enhance port capabilities and overall journey experiences for ferry passengers.

Kevin Hobbs
Aerial photo of Armadale

Harbour Spotlight

Situated on the coast of the Firth of Clyde is the historical Wemyss Bay Ferry Terminal. The walkway, connecting it to Wemyss Bay Train Station, has stood the test of time against challenging weather conditions since 1903.

In 2016, CMAL worked in partnership with the planning department at Inverclyde Council, Historic Environment Scotland (HES), and The Friends of Wemyss Bay Station to restore the Grade A-listed historic timber pier walkway to its original glory.

The refurbishment programme included the removal, replacement and decoration of damaged timber sections. With support from HES, research was carried out to restore the original Caledonian Railway Company colour scheme to the interior.

Additional efforts to restore the Edwardian style of the terminal, whilst maintaining its modern operational needs, were made through the well-researched use of upgraded lighting and moulds of the original ornamental timber finishings.

The hard work of the project team was rewarded in 2017 with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) National Award for the Infrastructure category. In 2023, CMAL completed further repairs and redecoration of the south-facing elevation of the walkway, which had been exposed to the worst of the weather.

Today, the ferry terminal building is used by CalMac Ferries to provide services from mainland Scotland to the Isle of Bute.

Current facilities:

  • Staffed location
  • Pier
  • Linkspan
  • Mechanical passenger gangway
  • Vehicle marshalling area
  • Terminal building with ticket facilities and waiting room
  • Railway station beside pier
  • Public toilets adjacent to railway station
  • Bus stop


    Fast Facts:

    • Wemyss Bay has 100 car parking spaces, including eight accessible spaces.
    • Caters for motorbikes, cars, coaches and schedules local buses.
    • The Bute route serves Wemyss Bay and Rothesay Port.

    Behind the scenes

    Cultivating Collaboration 

    —Jim Anderson, Director of Vessels

    Rendering of Little Minch Ferry

    In the world of large-scale vessel delivery projects, success hinges on effective collaboration and communication among stakeholders. By investing time in building strong relationships and creating a culture of mutual respect and trust, we can navigate challenging discussions more easily, ensuring the smooth execution of projects.

    The complex nature of major vessel builds means there are several moving parts, and everyone must work together to meet regular deadlines. CMAL is responsible for the on-site supervision and overseeing the quality of construction of the vessels and for reviewing the ship’s plans, drawings, technical specifications and other technical information. Sign off however, lies with the regulatory bodies, Lloyds Register and The Maritime Coastguard Agency. We meet with all parties regularly throughout the design and construction of the vessels to check in on progress and to identify any possible challenges early on. By doing this, we work collaboratively to overcome potential obstacles before they have a chance to become bigger issues.

    We also take practical steps to embed collaboration in our projects, such as seconding CMAL team members directly into the shipyards where vessels are being built. This ensures there is a direct line between the two parties, facilitating quick and easy communication. In February 2022, CMAL Project Director Andy Crossan was seconded to Fergusons Shipyard, to support in the building and delivery of MV Glen Sannox. His expertise as Ship Delivery Director was instrumental in the recent success of MV Glen Sannox’s builder’s sea trials.


    Communication is at the heart of all good working relationships – without it, you risk making an already complex project even more challenging.

    Seconding Andy to Fergusons presented very few logistical challenges, given the yard is just across the road from the CMAL offices.

    Years of the team working internationally has allowed the team to develop a global network of maritime experts, who we can call upon to support on project delivery. Timing was on our side when the contracts were signed at the Cemre Shipyard in Turkey, as an experienced consultant we had worked with in Germany on the build of the MV Loch Seaforth was available – and he’s Turkish. The job was a perfect fit for him, and so he started right away.

    While the language barrier may have been a challenge historically, recent developments in technology  means that our mobile phones are capable of real-time translation. When bilingual colleagues are not around, team members can simply speak into their translation app, and have their message communicated almost instantly in a variety of languages. This has fostered a culture of openness and inclusivity and means  all team members feel valued and empowered to contribute to the project’s success.

    Communication is at the heart of all good working relationships – without it, you risk making an already complex project even more challenging.

    Water we up to?

    In this feature, we take a closer look at some of CMAL’s live projects. For this edition, we’re reflecting on the naming of the two Little Minch vessels, the recent public engagement events for the Islay Vessel Enabling Works (IVEW) and the progression of the Port Ellen ferry terminal development works.

    Naming of the Little Minch vessels

    In December 2023, the public officially voted on the two names for the new vessels set to serve the Little Minch routes. When both vessels are launched, they will be known as MV Lochmor and MV Claymore.

    Work at Cemre shipyard on MV Lochmor and MV Claymore is progressing well, with delivery of both vessels expected towards the second half of 2025.

    IVEW public engagement events

    In preparation for the two new Islay vessels, MV Isle of Islay and MV Loch Indaal, a series of public engagement events were held to update communities on the planned infrastructure upgrade works at Kennacraig, Port Askaig and Colonsay.

    The upgrades include dredging, strengthening works, fendering, provision of a mooring aid and provision of shore power facilities.

    The events were held in Tarbert, Islay, Jura and Colonsay between October 2023 and February 2024. Communities were invited to share feedback and queries with representatives from CMAL, CalMac, Transport Scotland, Argyll and Bute Council, Mott MacDonald Ltd and George Leslie Ltd.

    Port Ellen Ferry Terminal update

    At Port Ellen, progress has been made on the new proposed ferry terminal development. Despite the impact of challenging weather conditions, the ground investigation works were completed last November.

    The project team are now working towards finalising the operational and design parameters to allow the detailed design process to begin. Works are ongoing to complete the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) requirements.

    In February 2024, the community and other stakeholders were invited to a public meeting in Port Ellen to further discuss the process. This meeting kicked off the new Harbour Revision (Consolidation) Order (HRCO) that CMAL has embarked on. Click here to read more about the HRCO.

    Picture this—Seas the day

    Check out what our team has been up to over the last few months.

    Have you been at one of our community engagement events? Or spotted one of our ferries on the move? Tweet us at @cmassets for a chance to be featured in the next newsletter.

    Rendering of Little Minch Ferry

    Jim Anderson, Kevin Hobbs and Karen Jamieson meeting MSPs from across the country to discuss our exciting plans for the future of ferries across Scotland at the Scottish Parliament.

    Rendering of Little Minch Ferry

    The successful launch of the MV Isle of Islay was cause for celebration, as the first of four vessels being built at Cemre entered the water.

    Campbell McIver, senior civil engineer at CMAL, discusses plans for the Gasay Terminal Development project on BBC Alba’s An Là programme

    Take a look back on a milestone week as MV Glen Sannox successfully completed her sea trials.

    Our privacy notice is available here.