CalMac ferry orders go to Turkey

2022-03-25T15:25:57+00:00 March 25th, 2022|Ships|

Scottish Government-controlled Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) has awarded a £105 mill contract to build two ferries for CalMac’s Islay service at a Turkish shipyard.

This is despite UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent promise of help for UK shipbuilding and repair through the National Maritime UK Shiprepairers’ National Shipbuilding Strategy Progress Board.

Cemre Marin Endustri was announced as the preferred bidder for the ferries against three other yards recently.

When delivered, they will increase vehicle and freight capacity on the route by nearly 40%.

The first vessel is expected to be delivered by October, 2024 and will enter service following sea trials and crew familiarisation with the second vessel following in early 2025.

Local Scottish media said that Ferguson Marine made a bid for the contract through the initial Pre-Qualification Questionnaire process but failed to make the shortlist.

Meanwhile, ferry union RMT has launched a campaign for a People’s CalMac, starting with a day of action at Oban last Friday.

RMT has called on the Scottish Government to invest in creating a publicly owned and operated ferry service that delivers reliable, more affordable services and which gives communities and workers a greater say in the running of the service.

The Clyde and Hebrides ferry service mandate operated by CalMac expires in September, 2024. RMT stressed it was opposed to privatisation of Scotland’s ferries and believed that these services must be publicly owned and operated, putting communities and passengers before profit.

The People’s CalMac campaign calls for:

  • More investment– for more reliable, frequent and extra services.
  • More affordable– with fairer ferry fares, including for commercial drivers.
  • More of a say– with a stronger voice for communities, passengers and workers.
  • More good jobs– already employing 1,700 people, CalMac is at the heart of Clyde and Hebrides communities, as well as Scotland’s maritime industry.

General Secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “CalMac ferries is a national asset providing lifeline services for many communities in Scotland. CalMac has a vital role to play in supporting the economic recovery of communities from Covid-19 but it needs sustained public investment to deliver the reliable, affordable and clean services necessary for this.

“That’s why RMT has launched a campaign for a People’s CalMac, starting with a day of action in Oban. We are calling on the Scottish Government to invest in creating a publicly owned and operated ferry service that delivers reliable, more affordable services and frequent services and which gives communities and workers a greater say in the running of the service.

“The cost of procurement failure, such as those outlined by Audit Scotland, must not deter Ministers from meeting the needs of workers or passengers.

“We are calling on passengers, communities and politicians to join our campaign for publicly owned and operated services that put people before profit and deliver the lifeline ferry services that Scotland’s communities require,” he said.