An agreement to build two 100m dual-fuel ferries in Scotland has been confirmed with the signing of a contract on October 16 between Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd (FMEL), Port Glasgow as the preferred tenderer and Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) as owner. The shipbuilding contract is said to be worth GBP 97 million (USD 150 m).
FMEL will undertake the detailed design and construction work of the new vessels in Scotland, as well as their testing, equipping, launching and delivery. The first ferry is expected to enter service in early 2018, with the second vessel following a few months later.
The wholly government-owned CMAL owns the ferries, ports and harbours and infrastructure necessary for vital ferry services serving the West coast of Scotland and the Clyde Estuary. Its vessels are operated by CalMac Ferries Ltd (CFL).
The contract will provide a boost for commercial shipbuilding on the Clyde; it will not only secure around 150 existing jobs in the Port Glasgow and Inverclyde area, but create new jobs and aid the local economy.
The ships are designed to carry 127 cars or 16 HGVs or a combination of both and up to 1,000 passengers. The ships will be capable of operating across a range of drafts and speeds to meet the requirements of CFL, to service a wide range of ports and routes. The new ferries are earmarked for the Ardrossan-Brodick and the Uig Triangle routes, although the final decision on vessel deployment rests with CFL and will be informed by further analysis of demand on all major routes.
The ferries will be ‘dual-fuel’ vessels so they can operate on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and marine diesel. LNG is significantly cleaner and has been adopted by ferry operators in Northern Europe in response to tighter emissions regulations.