THE world's first sea-going hybrid ferry has been launched from the Ferguson shipyard in Port Glasgow after a £20 million investment in the green technology.
The MV Hallaig is the first of two roll-on, roll-off ferries that will run on diesel and electric power, leading to 20% lower emissions, and is the first commercial passenger vessel built on the Clyde in five years.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was a "great day for Clyde shipbuilding".
"The construction of Hallaig has not only provided a boost for commercial shipbuilding along the Clyde, but has secured 75 jobs for the local community, and helped created around 100 more," she said.
Both hybrid ferries have been funded through Caledonian Maritime Assets, which owns the ports and vessels used by CalMac on the Clyde and west of Scotland. The cost of each hybrid is £2m more than a conventional vessel and will save £20,000 in fuel costs.
However, Guy Platten, chief executive of CMAL, said much of the cost was due to the risk associated with constructing the first vessel of its type and that this would be reduced when more vessels are ordered.
Richard Deane, managing director of Ferguson Shipbuilders, said the order had provided stability. "It has allowed us to effectively double our employment and recruit young blood for the future," he said.