ALFRED chartered as CalMac relief vessel for 9 months

By | 2023 Newsletter week 19 | No Comments
  • Following successful completion of berthing trials, ALFRED will commence service on Friday 12 May, Caledonian MacBrayne announced.
  • Berthing trials have shown that the ports suitable for ALFRED are Lochmaddy, Ullapool, Port Askaig, Brodick, Ardrossan (Irish berth only), Troon and Campbeltown.
  • Unfortunately, due to a technical issue with the vessel’s starboard thruster, she is currently unable to be deployed to Port Askaig. Pentland Ferries continue to work on mitigations to resolve this.
  • As Arran should have a two-vessel service on its main route at this time, ALFRED will initially be deployed between Ardrossan and Brodick.

FMEL announces further delay to Calmac vessels

By | 2023 Newsletter week 11 | No Comments

Ferguson Marine has announced a further delay to the two vessels under construction for CMAL/Calmac.

The first vessel GLEN SANNOX (Hull 801) will now be delivered between Autumn 2023 and the end of 2023.  The second vessel (Hull 802) will be delivered between autumn 2024 and the end of 2024.

The vessels, now over 5 years late, were most recently due in May 2023 and March 2024.

The further delays are attributed to a variety of issues connected to the difficult construction history of the ships.

Photo: Ferguson Marine

CalMac’s achievements outlined in latest annual report

By | 2023 Newsletter week 1 | No Comments

The David MacBrayne Limited Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year ending March 2022 has revealed about CalMac:

  • Service levels remained high, with a contractual reliability of 98.8%, despite challenges facing the fleet including covid infections, travel restrictions, extreme weather, and vessel breakdowns.
  • Record levels of investment being spent on maintaining the fleet – an increase of 64% over five years from £21.0m in 2018 to £34.3m in 2022.
  • Customer satisfaction with the service remained high at 85%.
  • Turnover GBP 227 million (199 million)
  • Gross Profit GBP 28 million (29 million)
  • Operating Loss/Profit -1.2 million (4.8 million)
  • Loss/Profit before taxation -2.3 million (3.3 million)
  • Loss/profit for the financial year -3.7 million (2.5 million)

“We continue to work with partners including CMAL and Transport Scotland to support the successful delivery of additional vessels and are looking forward to welcoming 16 new vessels to the fleet over the next five years. This will bring significant service improvements to our fleet, improving reliability across the network that will benefit our customers, communities, and visitors.”

CEO Robbie Drummond

Pentland Ferries Have Decided not to Time Charter their Vessel PENTALINA to Calmac

By | 2021 Newsletter week 26 | No Comments

CalMac has been searching for solutions to enhance capacity and resilience within its network. One possible vessel was PENTALINA from Pentland Ferries.

Robbie Drummond CEO CalMac: “Berthing trials had shown she could successfully operate services to Arran and Mull and we were looking forward to her deployment. Unfortunately, Pentland Ferries have decided not to enter into a charter agreement for the use of PENTALINA on our network. We are surprised and disappointed by this unexpected news.”

CalMac had first inquired about chartering PENTALINA end of March. Later an engine failure of CalMac’s biggest vessel, LOCH SEAFORTH, caused weeks of chaos across the ferry network.

Managing director of Pentland Ferries, Andrew Banks: “I would like to stress that the talks with CalMac Ferries were positive and constructive. However, our priority has to be to the continued viability of Pentland Ferries, and to our employees and passengers. We cannot commit to a scenario whereby external factors have the potential to cause severe risk and reputational damage to the business that we have worked so hard to build, and unfortunately we have therefore let CalMac know of our decision.” [Source: Hebrides News]

CalMac Acts to Support Passengers at Largs Cumbrae

By | 2020 Newsletter week 33 | No Comments

CalMac is to bring in extra staff to help support passengers who end up in long queues on the Largs Cumbrae route.

Current restrictions on board due to the ongoing Covid crisis means average capacity across CalMac’s fleet is running at around 35% compared to normal.

The extra staff will be on hand to assist and advise passengers on the route which, due to a combination of good weather and capacity restrictions required by social distancing, has seen lengthy waiting times recently.

Queues of up to three hours have impacted day trippers, tourists and islanders trying to get to and from the popular island of Great Cumbrae.


By | 2019 newsletter week 19 | No Comments

Ferguson’s Bosses Welcome an Investigation into The Future of Shipyard – And Insist That Business Is Booming

Ferguson’s bosses have welcomed an investigation into a delayed £97m ferry contract and the future of yard – and insist that business is booming.

Company chief executive Gerry Marshall has broken his silence after a senior Scottish Government minister confirmed a further setback in the delivery of the two new CalMac vessels which are under construction at the Newark site.

GLEN SANNOX is now 14 months late. Hull 802 is around 20 months behind schedule.

Ferguson’s and CMAL are in dispute over the extent of changes made to the design of the ships.


By | 2019 Newsletter week 4 | No Comments

Three Bidders Invited To Apply For Contract To Run Ferries For The Northern Isles

The invitation to tender for the next contract to run ferries to the Northern Isles has been issued to three bidders.

Submission of final tenders is scheduled for March 2019, with a view to awarding the contract in July 2019.

The contract is estimated to be worth £370m and will run for eight years. Two of the bidders are current holders Serco as NorthLink and Calmac – the third is not known.

Call For Calmac To Get The CLIPPER RANGER

By | 2018 Newsletter week 40 | No Comments

Parliamentary candidate, Alison MacCorquodale (Labour), has called for immediate action to charter a freight vessel for the Stornoway-Ullapool route in order to ease pressure on the LOCH SEAFORTH and the wider CalMac network.

She has pointed to reports that ro-ro vessel, CLIPPER RANGER, which was formerly deployed on the Stornoway-Ullapool route is “resting” at the Cammell Laird yard on Merseyside.