New Polish built ro-pax ferry joins Calmac fleet

‘Finlaggan’ undergoing builder’s trials (photo supplied by CMAL) ‘Finlaggan’ undergoing builder’s trials (photo supplied by CMAL)

Following successful sea trials in Gdansk, Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) recently took delivery of the ‘Finlaggan’, a brand new ro-pax ferry which will serve the Kennacraig to Islay route.

Polish shipbuilder Gdanska Stocznia Remontowa IM Jozefa Pilsudskiego delivered the vessel in Gdansk, and CMAL immediately bareboat chartered the vessel to the operator CalMac Ferries Limited (CFL). The ship remained in Gdansk for a few days after delivery for crew familiarisation and minor changes to the power management system and software, before she sailed to Scotland.

The vessel was contracted by CMAL in November 2007 and will be the first new ship to serve the Islay route in almost 40 years. The ferry will sail from Kennacraig to Port Askaig initially, while infrastructure works are completed at Port Ellen.

The 90m long vessel is a modern ro-ro Euro Class B passenger ferry with capacity for 550 passengers and 85 cars (18 on the mezzanine deck), or the equivalent in coaches and commercial vehicles. This marks a 22% increase in passenger capacity and an 11% increase in cars compared to the vessel currently employed on the Islay route.

Finlaggan boasts three passenger decks, an observation lounge, reclining seats and quiet lounge, restaurant, shop, children’s play area, two decks of external panoramic seating and two disabled lifts accessing all decks, including the outside upper deck. 

The project marks a major investment by CMAL, as part of its ongoing commitment to providing modern, sustainable ferries which are reliable and have lower maintenance costs. The vessel was completed on time and within the budget of £24.5 million.

Commenting on the handover, Guy Platten, chief executive of CMAL said: “We are delighted to see this project reach fruition on time and on budget, which has been down to excellent teamwork between CMAL as the owners and project managers, CFL as operator and the shipyard in Gdansk. The project demonstrates CMAL’s commitment to the long term improvement of vessels for remote and island communities and we look forward to welcoming Finlaggan to Scotland shortly.”

At 5,209gt and 740dwt, the newbuilding has a length of 89.90m, a breadth of 16.40m, a draught of 3.40m and a depth of 5.50m. The main propulsion plant comprises two Wärtsilä 8L32 medium speed mechanical diesel engines each delivering an output of 4,000kW at 750rpm. Each engine drives a Wärtsilä/Lips four-bladed controllable pitch propeller for a service speed of 16.2 knots.  

Auxiliary power is provided by three 625kVA Mitsubishi diesel gen-sets plus an emergency generator of the same rating. In addition, Finlaggan is fitted with two 1,800kVA Wärtsilä shaft alternators. All these provide the electrical power for the ship’s service load including the 600kW standard Brunvoll FU-63-LTC 1550 bow thruster. Two high-lift rudders provide a high degree of manoeuvrability.

The vessel is fitted with a Sperry Marine integrated bridge system while MacGregor Cargotec supplied the cargo handling system consisting of bow and stern ramps, the one-piece mezzanine deck and clam shell doors. For added crew and passenger comfort, the Finlaggan has two Rolls Royce Aquarius fin stabilisers installed.

Lloyd’s Register of Shipping certified the ferry to +100A1, IWS, EP, EU(B), LMC, UMS, NAV1, PCAC33, GP, LI classification. The passenger area is finished to a high specification with café/bar and self service restaurant facilities. Each member of the 34 crew has an individual cabin.

Principal dimensions:

Deadweight                740 tonnes

Gross weight               5,209 tonnes

Length oa.              89.90m

Breadth                   16.40m

Draught                     3.40m

Main engines 4 x Wärtsilä 8L32 medium speed diesels with output of

4,000kW @ 750rpm

Auxiliary engines          3 x Mitsubishi diesel gensets with output of 625kVA

Emergency generator              1 x Mitsubishi diesel genset with output of 625kVA

Propellers                 2 x Wartsila/Lips 4-bladed CP propellers

Service speed          16.2 knots

Passenger capacity     550

Car capacity                85

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