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News of two new ferries for Islay joining CalMac’s ageing fleet has been welcomed by islanders.
Islay Community Council Ferry Committee (ICCFC) was ‘delighted’ by September’s announcement that CMAL had invited four shipyards to bid to build two new ferries for Islay, with the winning contract due to be announced at the end of March 2022.
The two new vessels will have a lower energy requirement and greater vehicle capacity to meet an anticipated increase in passenger demand.
The Islay route is also one of the network’s busiest for freight, and the new ferries will be able to operate an overnight freight service.
The ICCFC’s secretary Jim Porteous said it had always hoped for two new ferries, not just one: ‘Apart from providing a better balance at our two island ports, with benefits of interchangeability, the substantial increase in capacity should help to further ‘future proof’ our service for many years ahead.
‘They are being designed specifically around the Islay service and the use of both here will release MV Finlaggan to provide cover that will be much needed elsewhere.
‘There will be some major works required at our ports to accommodate these larger ships and their additional vehicle capacities.’