Norway campaign secures addition to ferry fleet


Scotland’s nationally-owned ferry service has bought a second hand ferry to boost resilience on the Clyde and Hebrides network.

The MV Utne has been purchased by Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL). Transport Scotland did not disclose the purchase price but a spokesperson told Transport Network that the total price of securing the vessel and completing modifications is around £9m.

It said the vessel has been earmarked for the Oban-Craignure route, but that communities in Skye and the Western Isles will also benefit as a result of the cascade of vessels elsewhere on the network.

Transport minister Graeme Dey said: ‘We have always said we would look to the second hand market for additional vessels to support our island communities, and this purchase is the result of this ongoing work.'

CMAL chief executive Kevin Hobbs said: ‘The search for a suitable second hand vessel has been long and challenging, and we’ve experienced a few false starts. But we are glad to bring this much-needed second hand tonnage to the fleet to provide the operator, CalMac, with some resilience.

‘MV Utne has been operating successfully, with a fully complaint passenger certificate from the Norwegian Maritime Board. The vessel has operated for five years in Norwegian waters and that offers us confidence in its compliance, safety and operability.’

Transport Scotland said the vessel will transfer to CMAL around the end of this month, before undergoing modification work to allow it to enter service on the Oban – Craignure route. The works are expected to be completed by early 2022, with CalMac staff then undergoing on board training and familiarisation.

Argyll and Bute Council leader Robin Currie said: ‘This is welcome news. Sustainable transport links to and from our islands are key to supporting community life, and attracting the people and skills we need for a successful future.

‘We will continue to raise the local and national importance of this, and look forward to hearing more details about how this additional ferry will be put to work for our communities, businesses and visitors.”

Road Expo Scotland and Bridges Scotland will take place from 1-2 December 2021, returning to the purpose-built SEC Glasgow.

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