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Hebrides News


Engineers have been hired to draw up the redesign  of two Western Isles harbours in advance of the introduction of a new ferry.

The MV Hebrides is set to be replaced by a new-built £29 million vessel on the Harris and North Uist routes next year.

It means Lochmaddy and Tarbert harbours have to be upgraded to accommodate the ship.

Mooring arrangements, fendering, vehicle marshalling, access roads and footpaths are all in line for redesign and improvement. 

The linkspans, piers, and dolphin structures will also be assessed to see what work is required to ensure the vessel can safely berth and tie-up on all tides.


Dredging may be needed to accommodate the new ship.

An underwater survey of the seabed in each port will also be commissioned.

Two 100 metre long dual fuel ferries, which will be able to operate on liquefied natural gas (LNG), are currently being built by Ferguson’s of Port Glasgow.

One of the ships would ply the Skye - Lochmaddy - Tarbert route at a service speed of around 14.5 knots.

The vessels will be owned by Scottish Government agency, Cmal, which will lease the ferries to shipping operator Cal Mac.

Wallace Stone has been hired to pinpoint the required harbour improvements at both island ports.

Tarbert pier is owned by Cmal while the Lochmaddy ferry terminal belongs to Westernisles Council.

An agreement is in place between Cmal and the council which will see Cmal manage the development and delivery of required works at Lochmaddy on the council’s behalf.

Wallace Stone will take their preferred options to the detailed design stage.

The consultant will also manage and supervise ground investigation and concrete testing works.

Brian Sydney, senior civil engineer at Cmal, said: “The new dual-fuel ferries will require some infrastructure improvements at existing harbours.  

“Initially, we will be investigating the full extent of the works required with a view to agreeing preferred options for the works.  

“This will include consideration of how and when the works will be delivered in advance of the introduction of the new vessels.

He added: “We are delighted to appoint Wallace Stone to carry out this work on behalf of CMAL and Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar (Western isles Council).”

The dual fuel ferries, currently known as Hull 801 and Hull 802, will be able to carry 127 cars or 16 lorries, or a combination of both, and up to 1,000 passengers.  

The ferries are being designed to provide a fully flexible year-round service for Arran and the Skye Triangle routes.  

The first ferry is expected to enter service in mid 2018, with the second vessel following shortly afterwards.

Harbour improvements planned for new £29 million ferry

18 January 2017