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CalMac ferry launched at Turkish shipyard ahead of delivery in Scotland

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A ferry due to serve the Scottish islands of Islay and Jura has been successfully launched in Turkey.

MV Loch Indaal’s launch at Cemre Marin Endustri shipyard in Yalova has been described as “another important milestone” in the Scottish Government’s commitment to delivering six new major vessels into service by 2026.

The vessel is the second of four ferries being built at the Turkish yard and will serve the two islands alongside sister vessel, MV Isle of Islay, which was launched in March.

MV Loch Indaal is scheduled for delivery in February 2025 and will significantly boost capacity on the Islay routes with the ability to accommodate up to 450 passengers and 100 cars, or 14 commercial vehicles.

The addition will increase vehicle and freight capacity by 40% on the Islay routes, strengthening the overall fleet’s resilience.

The vessel will now undergo further outfitting and preparations in the water before comprehensive sea trials take place. Once complete, it will be handed over to owners, CMAL.

Upon its arrival from Turkey, MV Loch Indaal will undergo crew familiarisation and local operational trials before entering service.

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

Kevin Hobbs, Chief Executive Officer at CMAL, said: “The successful launch of MV Loch Indaal represents another major achievement in our shipyard construction program. Following the launches of MV Isle of Islay and MV Glen Rosa earlier this year, it is wonderful to see another vessel in the water.

“We look forward to the ferry’s completion and delivery, and to seeing the positive impact she will have on our communities as she enters service next year.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, added: “This is another important milestone in the Scottish Government’s commitment to delivering six new major vessels into service by 2026.

“I have no doubt the communities and businesses on Islay and Jura are looking forward to a more resilient and modern ferry service, with further vessels set to bring similar improvements to other parts of the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services network.”

Duncan Mackison, interim Chief Executive of CalMac, said: “We welcome the launch of MV Loch Indaal and are looking forward to the vessel joining the CalMac fleet. Her addition will increase resilience and will also significantly increase the number of passengers and vehicles we can carry on the Islay route.

“With six new major vessels due to join the fleet by 2026 and significant infrastructure upgrades at numerous ports and harbours underway or planned, we are confident that lifeline ferry services for Islay and across the network will continue to improve.”

The first vessel for Islay and Jura, MV Isle of Islay, is due to arrive in Scotland at the end of the year, with MV Loch Indaal scheduled for arrival in February 2025.

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