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Record Investment In Ferry Overhaul Programme

(30 October 2019) Ferry operator CalMac is investing a record amount in keeping its fleet in ship shape condition during this year’s winter maintenance programme.

More than £9 million is being targeted at vessel resilience responding to the challenges of an increasing average age of fleet.  This is in addition to the annual planned maintenance expenditure to ensure every vessel is ready for another year of supporting communities across the west coast. The resilience programme  is more than double the amount spent last year.

Including inter-island services, CalMac runs a total of 49 routes served by 33 vessels each of which is required to undergo a period of annual dry dock maintenance.

‘Trying to ensure that every vessel gets the proper levels of maintenance and upgrades, while keeping lifeline ferry services running is an extremely complex operation,’ said CalMac’s Director of Asset Management, Julie Philpott.

‘Not all vessels are suitable for every route and harbour, meaning the matrix we need to design to ensure service continuity is long in the planning.’

‘We try where we can, within the resources available to us, to provide as seamless a service as possible during this period, matching suitable vessels to cover routes. But getting every vessel in for maintenance requires us to do a certain amount of manoeuvring. We try and keep inconvenience to a minimum, and hope the travelling public can understand why we have to make the vessel changes that we do at this time of year.’

On top of the regular cyclical planned maintenance CalMac are carrying out more then 90 major projects to the fleet this year. This includes new engines on the MV Loch Striven and Loch Tarbert, replacement pitch control systems on the MV Clansman and Isle of Lewis, a new bow thruster on the MV Hebridean Isles, replacement ramps and new generators on various vessels.

‘For those not involved in the refit process the sheer scale of the tasks involved is hard to picture. Last year we fitted more then 11km of electrical wiring and this year new CCTV networks and pitch control systems alone will see 18km of new cable installed,’ said Julie.

‘Some communities may lose their regular vessel for longer periods due to the scale of the work being carried out this winter. However, this additional time out of timetable will help support delivery of a more resilient service in the long term. Customers will be able to see meaningful improvements in service,’ she added.

Work on the vessels is carried out at yards in Greenock, Troon, Liverpool, Ardmaliesh, Leith and Aberdeen.

Notes to editors

The schedule may change depending on operational priorities, but current arrangements are:

MV LOCH SEAFORTH: MV BUTE: MV LOCH STRIVEN: MV ALI CAT: MV LOCH BUIE: MV LORD of the ISLES: MV HEBRIDEAN ISLES: MV ARGYLE: MV LOCH TARBERT: MV CORUISK: MV LOCH ALAINN: MV ISLE of MULL: MV CATRIONA: MV LOCH RANZA: MV CALEDONIAN ISLES: MV LOCH BHRUSDA: MV LOCH SHIRA: MV ISLE of LEWIS: MV CLANSMAN: MV ISLE of CUMBRAE: MV LOCH PORTAIN: MV LOCH FYNE: MV FINLAGGAN: MV HEBRIDES: MV LOCHINVAR: MV ARGYLL FLYER Oct 21/Nov 6 Oct 22/Oct 30 Oct 28/Nov 18 Oct 29/Nov 12 Oct 31/Nov 14 Nov 5/Nov 21 Nov 6/Nov 22 Nov 6/Nov 14 Nov 18/Dec 9 Nov 22/Dec 10 Nov 25/Dec 9 Nov 28/Dec 12 Dec 3/Dec 17 Jan 4/Jan 18 Jan 4/Jan 20  Jan 9/Jan 23 Jan 18/Feb 2 Jan 25/Feb 16 Jan 25/Feb 16 Jan 27/Feb 10 Feb 3/Feb 17             Feb 18/March 3 Feb 20/March 5 March 9/March 23 March 4/March 18 May 4/May 18 Isle of Lewis & Heb Isles Coruisk Loch Riddon Single Vessel Service Loch Tarbert Isle Of Arran N/A Coruisk Loch Riddon N/A Loch Bhrusda Isle Of Arran Loch Riddon Loch Linnhe Isle of Arran & Heb Isles Relief Vessel Catriona Hebridean Isles Lord of the Isles N/A Loch Bhrusda N/A Hebridean Isles &Isle ofA Clansman Hallaig Single Vessel    

 Details of what is being done to each vessel