Ferguson Marine Signs CalMac Ferry Duo Contract

Glasgow-based Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd shipyard and Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) signed a shipbuilding contract for two 100-meter, dual-fuel  ferries worth GBP 97 million (USD 150 million), on Friday, October 16.

Back in August, the government of Scotland named Ferguson Marine as the preferred tenderer for the contract to build the two ferries for the state-backed ferry operator, Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac).

Ferguson Marine Engineering, saved by billionaire businessman Jim McColl in September 2014,  will undertake the detailed design and construction work of the new vessels in Scotland, as well as their testing, equipping, launching and delivery. The first ferry is expected to enter service in early 2018, with the second vessel following a few months later.

Tom Docherty, Chief Executive, CMAL, said: “We are delighted to sign the shipbuilding contracts, securing FMEL as the contractor to build the two newest additions to our fleet. Key items of equipment will now be ordered, detailed plans will be developed for approval and it is anticipated that actual construction will start early in 2016. We hope to see the first of these vessels in operation in early 2018.”

The contract is expected to provide a boost for commercial shipbuilding on the Clyde and follows the shipyard’s delivery of the first two hybrid ferries for the CMAL fleet, with the third due to launch in December this year.

“I’m delighted this contract has been formally awarded to Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited and the shipyard can now start work on these new 100m ferries, the largest commercial vessels to be built on the Clyde since 2001,” Scotland’s Minister for Transport and Islands Derek Mackay said.

“The award of this contract will see FMEL’s 150-strong workforce retained and more staff taken on, underlining the Scottish Government’s commitment to creating the vital jobs needed to boost local economies and help stimulate growth across Scotland. I once again congratulate FMEL on proving Scottish shipbuilding can succeed in a competitive market, and I look forward to seeing these new vessels join the West Coast ferry fleet in the future.”

The ships are designed to carry 127 cars or 16 HGVs or a combination of both and up to 1,000 passengers. The ships will be capable of operating across a range of drafts and speeds to meet the requirements of CalMac to service a wide range of ports and routes.

The new ferries are earmarked for the Ardrossan-Brodick and the Uig Triangle routes, although the final decision on vessel deployment rests with CalMac and will be informed by further analysis of demand on all major routes.

The ferries will be dual-fuel vessels so they can operate on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and marine diesel.

Liam Campbell, Managing Director, FMEL, said: “This is a great achievement for the yard and great news for the local community. The signing of the shipbuilding contracts today marks the beginning of a new era of commercial shipbuilding on the Clyde and in conjunction with our experience in building battery hybrid vessels, confirms Ferguson Marine Engineering as a lead designer and builder of innovative green vessels internationally.”