CMAL launches MV Isle of Islay ferry

THE SCOTTISH state-owned enterprise Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) has announced the launch of MV Isle of Islay ferry on 16 March 2024.

It is the first of four ferries being built at the Cemre Marin Endustri shipyard in Yalova, Turkey, and marks a major milestone in CMAL’s commitment to delivering new ferries to serve the Scottish islands.

With the hull now structurally complete, all blocks for the vessel have been erected and surveyed.

The launch will see the vessel move from the slipway into the water, where work will continue onboard.

MV Isle of Islay will be launched on 16 March 2024.

In line with the shipyard build programme, the vessel will remain on the slipway until March, where installation of pipework, equipment, machinery, electrical works, and outfitting will be progressed.

Subsequently, underwater hull coatings will be applied, and propulsors installed before launching.

The ferry, which will serve Islay and Jura, is set to be delivered in October 2024.

Following the transit from Turkey, it will undergo crew familiarisation and local operational trials before it enters service.

An official naming ceremony will take place on Islay towards the end of the year, where community representatives and stakeholders will be invited to board and tour the vessel to celebrate its arrival before it officially joins the fleet.

The new ferry, along with its sister vessel MV Loch Indaal, will have a clear focus on freight as well as sufficient passenger accommodation to meet anticipated demand.

They will each have 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 will improve the overall resilience of the wider fleet.

Jim Anderson, Director of Vessels at CMAL, said: “Work at the Cemre shipyard continues to progress well, with the project coming in on time and on budget.

“We look forward to witnessing the launch, which is a major milestone in the vessel’s construction.

“We look forward to celebrating with the community towards the end of the year, where the vessel will be officially given its name, MV Isle of Islay.”

Fiona Hyslop, Minister for Transport, said: “I’m pleased that the MV Isle of Islay will be launched at the Cemre Shipyard in March.

“Delivering six new major vessels to serve Scotland’s ferry network by 2026 is a priority for this government and this is an important milestone as part of that commitment.

“Ahead of entering service later this year, I look forward to joining the community as we celebrate and officially name the new vessel.

“People will welcome a more resilient and modern ferry service for Islay and Jura, and further vessels will soon bring similar and highly anticipated improvements for Island communities across Scotland.”