The new 12-metre ferry linking the island of Kerrera and the mainland south of Oban at Gallanach entered service today — 5th September 2017.
Carvoria, owned by Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) and chartered to CalMac Ferries Ltd, took her first load of paying passengers and vehicles shortly after 8am.
Her entry into service came only 72 days after the building contract was awarded to Malakoff Limited of Lerwick in Shetland. This is believed to be a record for the CalMac fleet.
The vessel is powered by two outboard Honda 80 engines, using petrol — making her unique in the CalMac fleet. Another individual feature is the steel bar grating on the ramp, affording good visibility from the wheelhouse.
The contract for a new ferry was announced by CMAL on 3 July 2017 after completion of a £2m upgrade to the slipways at Gallanach and Kerrera, including a new breakwater at the island.
Carvoria was the second boat to be laid down in Malakoff’s new boatbuilding facility at the Greenhead Base in Shetland, which was opened in June to allow the company better to meet the needs of the marine industry.
She was launched in mid August at Lerwick harbour, where an inclining test was conducted, and then loaded onto a chartered NorthLink vessel for the voyage to Aberdeen. From there, she was transported by road to Dunstaffnage, near Oban, where she was put in the water and the final elements of the fit-out were completed.
Carvoria undertook sea trials in the Sound of Kerrera last Wednesday, and yesterday completed trial loads on the 500-metre Gallanach-Kerrera crossing. Overnight she will be tied to a mooring off Gallanach slipway.
Her unusual name was chosen by the Kerrera community. It is understood to be an old Norse name for the island she was built to serve.
Carvoria is a larger, more sophisticated version of the previous Kerrera ferry, Gylen Lady, which is also powered by two outboards. Gylen Lady was run by local man Duncan McEachan who, along with three shipmates, is now a CalMac employee.
To view Carvoria’s timetable, click here.
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