Ferry operator CalMac has finalised dry dock arrangements for its fleet this year.
Each of the fleet’s 31 vessels is required under Maritime and Coastguard Agency regulations to undertake a period of maintenance every 12 months.
Arrangements for the Stornoway Ullapool route mean the MV Isle of Lewis will pick up the passenger service with the Northlink vessel MV Hildesay running the overnight freight service from October 29 to November 12.
This will be a reciprocal arrangement with the MV Isle of Lewis covering one of Northlink’s dry dock periods on the Orkney or Shetland routes in early 2016.
“Arranging dry dock for our fleet is a complex logistical exercise that we try and undertake with minimal potential disruption to our normal services. We appreciate our passengers patience and understanding for the short period of time that they are not served by their normal vessel,” said CalMac’s operations director, Drew Collier.
“We have many competing demands from the communities we serve during this period and try hard to meet these where we possibly can.
“The link up with Northlink is the best business solution to providing adequate passenger and freight cover when the Seaforth goes into dry dock this month.”
During dry dock the Seaforth will be fitted with the innovative and advanced fuel monitoring systems (FMS) leading to significant environmental and economic benefits. Across the fleet FMS is likely to lead to fuel savings of more than £0.45 million per annum will be made and CO2 emissions will be cut by some 1,800 tonnes, the equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of 4,285,714 miles driven by an average passenger car.
Routes in the Western Isles and Skye that still have a vessel to be dry docked are:
Sconsor Raasay - MV Hallaig will be replaced by the MV Linnhe from October 26 to November 9.
Oban Castlebay Lochboisdale – The MV Clansman will be replaced by the MV Hebrides from January 5 to February 07 and the MV Lord of the Isles by the MV Isle of Arran from October 26 to November 11
Barra Eriskay – Loch Alain will be replaced by the Loch Bhrusda from December 7 to December 21.
Uig Lochmaddy Tarbert – Will be covered by the Hebridean Isles and Isle of Arran 5 January to 27 February.
Berneray Leverburgh – Loch Portain will be replaced by the Loch Bhrusda from January 11 to February 22.