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Thread: Another new Calmac ferry shambles

  1. #1
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    Another new Calmac ferry shambles

    Last Tuesday evening a second public meeting was held using the internet regarding the new Islay Ferry which is due to come into service on the Kennacraig to Islay route in 2024.
    The ferry which is longer, wider and has a deeper draught than the current MV Finlaggan ferry will cost 50 Million plus a further 16.4 million will have to spent carrying out work at Kennacraig, Port Ellen, Port Askaig and Colonsay piers to allow the new ferry to dock.(2021 prices).
    The maximum passenger capacity of the new Islay ferry is to be 350 passengers which is 200 passengers less than the maximum passenger capacity on the MV Finlaggan which is 550.
    This has caused a rumpus on the island of Islay as some of the locals think that the maximum passenger capacity is too small.
    At the Q and A section of last Tuesday’s meeting someone asked what would be the maximum passenger of he new Islay ferry if the current one metre social distancing rules were to become the norm.
    The Calmac ‘expert’ at the meeting replied that they had not worked this out and they would have to have a look at the plans of the new ferry to work it the figure.
    From memory I think that the current one metre social distancing rules on the MV Finlaggan has resulted in the maximum passenger capacity being reduced from 550 to 217.
    There are certainly a lot of seats in the seating areas plus the Mariners Cafe on the MV Finlaggan taped off to adhere to the current one metre social distancing rules.
    If one metre social distancing results in 50% reduction in the maximum passenger capacity then it could be back to the drawing board for the new Islay ferry which according to last Tuesday evening’s meeting people have spent three years to date in the planning stage.
    In my opinion it is better to find out now instead of spending 67.4 million to discover that the new Islay ferry’s passenger capacity has been reduced by 50% to a maximum capacity of 175 passengers which is no use during the busy summer timetable period plus Christmas and New Year.
    Last edited by islaydarkblue; 29-03-2021 at 05:11 PM.

  2. #2
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    Right Islay, what should we do?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BCram View Post
    Right Islay, what should we do?
    I would be very concerned that this could be another new ferry fiasco on a par with the two new car ferries sitting in Ferguson’s shipyard, rusting away.
    I was not able to log into last Tuesday evening’s meeting so I listened to the meeting the following afternoon which is available to listen to on the CMAL website.
    It lasts 1 hour 39 minutes and 14 seconds and I managed to stay awake throughout the whole time although it was touch and go a couple of times.
    CMAL admitted at the meeting that their original plan was to have the new Islay ferry powered by LNG which is the same source of power for the new ferries Glen Sannox and 801 which are in Ferguson’s shipyard but they could not source an engine.
    Whether CMAL have engines powered by LNG for the Glen Sannox and 801 was never mentioned

  4. #4
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    Cheers Islay however I'm a great believer in coming to the table with solutions and not problems. You've pointed out a number of potential problems but as per BCram's question above, I'd like to hear your solutions?

    Maybe start by clarifying the reason the decision to replace the MV Finlaggan was taken. Is this avoidable? Is it a safety issue in that an ageing vessel is coming to the end of its service life and may not be fit for purpose in the near future? What would be the cost of replacing the MV Finlaggan with a modern vessel with the passenger and vehicle capacity you'd consider acceptable? Would your preference be to retain the MV Finlaggan maybe?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deeranged View Post
    Cheers Islay however I'm a great believer in coming to the table with solutions and not problems. You've pointed out a number of potential problems but as per BCram's question above, I'd like to hear your solutions?

    Maybe start by clarifying the reason the decision to replace the MV Finlaggan was taken. Is this avoidable? Is it a safety issue in that an ageing vessel is coming to the end of its service life and may not be fit for purpose in the near future? What would be the cost of replacing the MV Finlaggan with a modern vessel with the passenger and vehicle capacity you'd consider acceptable? Would your preference be to retain the MV Finlaggan maybe?
    Thank you for your post.
    The new Islay ferry is not replacing the MV Finlaggan, it is replacing the elderly and ‘clapped out’ MV Hebridean Isles ferry.
    However when the new Islay ferry was first mooted it was to be constructed on the same lines as the MV Finlaggan which will become the second ferry on the Kennacraig to Islay route.
    This had not happened as the bosses at the Scottish Government owned CMAL have decided to build a totally new ferry for the Kennacraig to Islay route which will be the model for all new large car ferries on the Clyde and Western Isles ferry routes.
    The pier at Port Askaig can currently only take ferries that are up to a maximum of 90 metres long although the MV Isle of Mull at 90.03 metres long has managed to squeeze onto the pier.
    To date all the major Calmac car ferries apart from the MV Loch Seaforth and the MV Isle of Lewis are 15.80 metres wide and have a draught of up to 3.22 metres.
    The MV Isle of Lewis is 18.4 metres wide and it has a draught of 4.19 metres. The MV Isle of Lewis used to operate on the Ullapool to Stornaway route until it was replaced by the MV Loch Seaforth.
    Thanks to its 4.19 metre draught the MV Isle of Lewis can only operate on certain routes as dredging work would be required at other piers to allow her to safely dock without running aground. The MV Isle of Lewis has been out of action for over two weeks and she is currently at Cammell Laird’s in Birkenhead undergoing repairs which must be major to have unscheduled repairs for that length of time.
    The MV Loch Seaforth which replaced the MV Isle of Lewis on the Ullapool to Stornaway route is 18.52 metres wide but according to the Calmac website its draught is N/A.
    According to last Tuesday evening’s public meeting the new Islay ferry is to be 94.50 metres in length, 17.4 metres wide and have draught of 3.8 metres.
    This is why work will have to be carried out at Kennacraig, Port Ellen, Port Askaig and Colonsay piers to allow the new Islay ferry to safely dock costing a total of 16.4 million.
    I fail to understand why CMAL want to change.a proven design of car ferry which can easily fit all the piers currently serving the large Calmac car ferries. There is a well known saying “If is ain’t broke don’t fix it”.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by islaydarkblue View Post
    Thank you for your post.
    The new Islay ferry is not replacing the MV Finlaggan, it is replacing the elderly and ‘clapped out’ MV Hebridean Isles ferry.
    However when the new Islay ferry was first mooted it was to be constructed on the same lines as the MV Finlaggan which will become the second ferry on the Kennacraig to Islay route.
    This had not happened as the bosses at the Scottish Government owned CMAL have decided to build a totally new ferry for the Kennacraig to Islay route which will be the model for all new large car ferries on the Clyde and Western Isles ferry routes.
    The pier at Port Askaig can currently only take ferries that are up to a maximum of 90 metres long although the MV Isle of Mull at 90.03 metres long has managed to squeeze onto the pier.
    To date all the major Calmac car ferries apart from the MV Loch Seaforth and the MV Isle of Lewis are 15.80 metres wide and have a draught of up to 3.22 metres.
    The MV Isle of Lewis is 18.4 metres wide and it has a draught of 4.19 metres. The MV Isle of Lewis used to operate on the Ullapool to Stornaway route until it was replaced by the MV Loch Seaforth.
    Thanks to its 4.19 metre draught the MV Isle of Lewis can only operate on certain routes as dredging work would be required at other piers to allow her to safely dock without running aground. The MV Isle of Lewis has been out of action for over two weeks and she is currently at Cammell Laird’s in Birkenhead undergoing repairs which must be major to have unscheduled repairs for that length of time.
    The MV Loch Seaforth which replaced the MV Isle of Lewis on the Ullapool to Stornaway route is 18.52 metres wide but according to the Calmac website its draught is N/A.
    According to last Tuesday evening’s public meeting the new Islay ferry is to be 94.50 metres in length, 17.4 metres wide and have draught of 3.8 metres.
    This is why work will have to be carried out at Kennacraig, Port Ellen, Port Askaig and Colonsay piers to allow the new Islay ferry to safely dock costing a total of 16.4 million.
    I fail to understand why CMAL want to change.a proven design of car ferry which can easily fit all the piers currently serving the large Calmac car ferries. There is a well known saying “If is ain’t broke don’t fix it”.
    Thanks Islay. I think that the would be an MSP for your area should be asked what they think about this strategy. It seems to me that the " if it ain't broke don't fix it" approach makes a lot of sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BCram View Post
    Thanks Islay. I think that the would be an MSP for your area should be asked what they think about this strategy. It seems to me that the " if it ain't broke don't fix it" approach makes a lot of sense.
    The MSP for this area Michael Russell SNP is fortunately not standing for re-election in the Scottish elections on 6th May 2021.
    The SNP candidate for the Argyll and Bute constituency is Ms Jenni Minto. In her election bumf she wants CMAL to become part of Transport Scotland. In my opinion this seems a daft idea as CMAL is owned by the Scottish Government. If CMAL would become a very minor part of Transport Scotland.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BCram View Post
    Thanks Islay. I think that the would be an MSP for your area should be asked what they think about this strategy. It seems to me that the " if it ain't broke don't fix it" approach makes a lot of sense.
    There were other issues railed at the meeting.
    The new Islay ferry will be able to carry 100 cars while the MV Finlaggan can carry 77 cars.
    However thanks to current Health and Safety rules the marshalling area at Port Ellen pier can only hold 53 cars. This means that work will have to be carried out to increase the marshalling area to take 77 cars. At present thanks to a large number of HGVs travelling on the Calmac ferries on the Kennacraig to Islay route this is never likely to happen apart from on a Sunday during the busy summer months.
    It was also mentioned at the meeting that to increase the marshalling area at Port Ellen pier to hold 100 cars might result in the compulsory purchase of some nearby houses.
    That would certainly be very controversial as Calmac are revered as gods on Islay and no local residents are allowed to say anything bad about them.
    Even if the work is carried out to increase the marshalling area at Port Ellen pier to 100 cars CMAL expect the new Islay ferry to run at a maximum capacity of 50% .for the first two years after the projected 2024 date when the new Islay ferry commences sailing on the Kennacraig to Islay route.
    Last edited by islaydarkblue; 30-03-2021 at 07:09 PM.

  9. #9
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    This is clearly an emotive subject for you Islay and considering where you live (outside of your lockdown defying journeys to Dundee) that's understandable.

    However, has it not yet crossed your mind that maybe the typical Dundee fan doesn't care how many cars can be held in the marshalling area of Port Ellen Pier or for that matter the draft of any proposed replacement ferry so, by default, this Dundee FC forum may not be the best place to discuss the subject?

  10. #10
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    I agree that the typical Dundee fan may not care about the car ferry to islay but I may want to go there someday and time spent in understanding the vagaries of the service may be helpful. I would have thought that the topic title was specific enough to ensure that only those who like the posts by Islaydarkblue on this topic will open the topic.

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