The preferred bidder has been named for a contract to build two new ferries to support the communities at Uig, Lochmaddy and Tarbert (Harris).
Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) intends to award the contract to the Cemre Marin Endustri A.S shipyard in Turkey, following a 10 day standstill period.
In October 2022, The Scottish Government prioritised additional funding to enable CMAL to accelerate plans for replacement vessels. The two new vessels will be built to the same specification as the existing ferries under construction at Cemre for Islay. This will speed up the replacement of the major vessel fleet and provide a more standardised vessel type that can be used on a variety of different routes.
Jim Anderson, Director of Vessels at CMAL said: “This is a big step forward in procuring two new vessels for the Little Minch routes to Lochmaddy and Tarbert. These ferries will deliver dedicated services to North Uist and Harris in the peak season, rather than the shared vessel operation currently in place.
“We will now enter a 10 day standstill period before finalising the contract. We intend to share an update in early January after the festive period with further information, such as forecasted delivery dates.”
Minister for Transport Jenny Gilruth said:
“The Scottish Government is absolutely committed to improving the lifeline ferry fleet and better meeting the needs of island communities, so I’m pleased to see CMAL name the preferred bidder for the two additional ferries. I hope this progress will be welcomed by island communities who depend on these lifeline ferry services.”
“Our intention is that these vessels will be deployed on the Skye triangle routes to Lochmaddy and Tarbert, creating the opportunity to significantly increase capacity and resilience by delivering dedicated services to communities in the peak season.
“It will also allow consideration of all options to deploy Vessel 802 on an alternative route. All of these options will be discussed with island communities, including potentially operating alongside her sister ship, the MV Glen Sannox, to provide additional capacity to and from Arran in the peak season.
“It is imperative that island communities have their say in any future deployments. I look forward to continuing engagement through our work on Project Neptune to improve the delivery of ferry services on the Clyde and Hebrides network.”