Highlands & Islands

New ferry for Stornoway-Ullapool route launched

MV Isle of Lewis Image copyright Colin Smith/Geograph
Image caption CalMac say the new ferry will be more reliable than the MV Isle of Lewis

A new ferry commissioned by Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd to work on the Stornoway to Ullapool route has been launched at a shipyard in Germany.

The company said the ferry, costing £41.8m, would be faster, greener and more reliable than existing passenger and freight vessels.

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

Called the MV Loch Seaforth, it is expected to come into service in September.

The four-engine ferry is still to have its deck fitted and will require other work, along with sea trials, before it can be put to work on the route.

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.

Joan Murray, whose father John Smith was the mail boat's master, launched the new ferry.

Western Isles SNP MSP Alasdair Allan said: "The new larger vessel will, I believe, provide an improvement in capacity and reliability on this route and represents a serious investment by the Scottish government in the CalMac fleet."

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