CalMac has finalised dry dock arrangements for its fleet this year.
Each of the fleet’s 31 vessels is required under Maritime and Coastguard Agency regulations to undertake a period of maintenance every twelve months.
Arrangements for the Stornoway Ullapool route mean MV Isle of Lewis will pick up the passenger service, with the Northlink vessel MV Hildesay running the overnight freight service from 29th October to 12th November.
This will be a reciprocal arrangement with MV Isle of Lewis covering one of Northlink’s dry dock periods on the Orkney or Shetland routes in early 2016.
“Arranging dry dock for our fleet is a complex logistical exercise that we try and undertake with minimal potential disruption to our normal services. We appreciate our passengers patience and understanding for the short period of time that they are not served by their normal vessel,” said CalMac’s operations director, Drew Collier.
“We have many competing demands from the communities we serve during this period and try hard to meet these where we possibly can.
“The link up with Northlink is the best business solution to providing adequate passenger and freight cover when the Seaforth goes into dry dock this month.”
During dry dock MV Loch Seaforth will be fitted with the innovative and advanced fuel monitoring systems (FMS) leading to significant environmental and economic benefits. Across the fleet FMS is likely to lead to fuel savings of more than £0.45 million per annum will be made and CO2 emissions will be cut by some 1,800 tonnes, the equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of 4,285,714 miles driven by an average passenger car.
CalMac is the operator of the UK’s largest ferry network. Last year it carried 4.65 million passengers, 1.1 million cars, 92,000 commercial vehicles and 11,000 coaches. It has been serving 49 routes across Scotland’s west coast for the past .
Routes in the Western Isles and Skye that still have a vessel to be dry docked are:
Sconsor-Raasay – MV Hallaig will be replaced by the MV Linnhe from 26th October to 9th November.
Oban-Castlebay-Lochboisdale – MV Clansman will be replaced by MV Hebrides from 5th January to 7th February. MV Lord of the Isles will be replaced by MV Isle of Arran from 26th October to 11th November.
Barra-Eriskay – MV Loch Alain will be replaced by MV Loch Bhrusda from 7th December to 21st December.
Uig-Lochmaddy-Tarbert – Will be covered by MV Hebridean Isles and MV Isle of Arran from 5th January to 27th February.
Berneray-Leverburgh – MV Loch Portain will be replaced by MV Loch Bhrusda from 11th January to 22nd February.
Photo: MV Isle of Lewis by Mark Nicolson