The first of two new ferries which will serve Islay and Jura has been successfully launched at a factory in Turkey.

MV Isle of Islay is one of four ferries being built at Cemre Marin Endustri shipyard in Yalova and is due to go into service in October.

Two more ferries, MV Glen Sannox and MV Glen Rosa, are being built at the Ferguson Marine shipyard on the Clyde and have been beset by delays.

Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) said MV Isle of Islay will have capacity for up to 450 passengers and 100 cars, or 14 commercial vehicles and will provide a combined 40% increase in vehicle and freight capacity on the Islay routes, bolstering the overall resilience of the wider fleet.

Further work will now take place while the ferry is in the water, with sea trials to take place before it is handed over to CMAL.

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An official naming ceremony will take place on Islay towards the end of the year, where community representatives and stakeholders will be invited to board and tour the vessel to celebrate its arrival before it officially joins the fleet.

Kevin Hobbs, Chief Executive Officer at CMAL, said: "The successful launch of the MV Isle of Islay marks a major milestone in the vessel’s construction. It’s wonderful to see her in the water. We look forward to marking the official naming of the ferry, MV Isle of Islay, at the event later this year as we welcome her to Scottish waters.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, said: “I’m delighted to see MV Isle of Islay enter the water and look forward to her arrival in Scotland later this year. I know she will be warmly welcomed by the communities she will serve.

“This is another important milestone reached in the Scottish Government’s commitment to deliver six new major vessels to serve the Clyde and Hebrides network by 2026.

“With MV Isle of Islay progressing towards delivery in October, and her sister ship MV Loch Indaal following soon after, ferry users can anticipate more reliable and resilient services with increased capacity for the Islay routes from 2025. I look forward to seeing these and more new vessels being added to the fleet in the coming years and bringing improvements for island communities across the Clyde and Hebrides network.”

Robbie Drummond, Chief Executive of CalMac, said: “We are very much looking forward to welcoming MV Isle of Islay into our fleet. When she enters service, she will deliver a real step change in resilience and capacity for the community of Islay enabling future growth.”