Highlands & Islands

New ferry for Stornoway-Ullapool route delayed

MV Loch Seaforth Image copyright Handout
Image caption The fitting of electrical services to the ferry has been hit by delays

Delivery of the new Caledonian MacBrayne ferry, due to take over the Stornoway to Ullapool service, has been delayed.

The £41.8m MV Loch Seaforth had been expected to enter service during September.

However, following work to it in Denmark, the vessel has had to be returned to the German shipyard where it was built.

This is so that electrical services can be fitted to the ship.

The electrical work had earlier been hit by delays.

Tom Docherty, of Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd, said he was disappointed by the situation.

He said: "The original plan was for sea trials to take place in the first week of September on leaving Denmark.

"However, the earlier delays to the installation of electrical services throughout the vessel necessitated a return to Germany to complete the works.

"A team from CMAL is onsite, working closely with the shipyard to assist and ensure that the vessel is completed to a high standard, which is ultimately just as important as meeting completion deadlines."

The ferry will be able to take 700 passengers, 143 cars or 20 commercial vehicles.

The vessel was named after the Loch Seaforth, a mail boat that sailed between Lewis and the Scottish mainland between the late 1940s and early 1970s.

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