The SNP Government, through Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) is planning to replace the MV Loch Riddon, which sails between Cumbrae and Largs in summer, and six other vessels in a major vessel construction programme to begin this year.
The “loch class” vessels serving the Clyde & Hebrides Ferry Services network will be replaced due to their operational life expiry. The programme aims to renew the small vessel fleet over the next decade.
CMAL is leading the programme, supported by Transport Scotland and CalMac in a working group.
The strategic business case for Phase 1 of the programme, which includes a new Cumbrae vessel, was approved in late 2020 by the Transport Scotland Investment Decision-Board, backed by Scottish Ministers.
The procurement process for the replacement vessels will begin subject to approval of a more detailed business case providing options, with their commercial and financial value.
CMAL said there would be a clear focus on building low emission vessels, in line with the SNP Government’s climate change commitments.
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“Having consistently made the case for new ferries over the years, I am pleased to see this programme to revitalise the Clyde and Hebrides ferry network progress. I am particularly heartened that a new ferry for Cumbrae will be part of its first phase.
“I look forward to the programme being finalised and the commencement of construction.”