FERRY owners and procurers CMAL have indicated that two ferries controversially being built in Turkey are on schedule - while revealing the names of the two vessels.

CMAL produced a shortlist of names for the ferries, each which had ties to the landscape and history of Islay and Jura.

Those with an interest in the ferries were encouraged to vote over a two-week period.

Over 1,300 votes were cast in a public vote and it was decided that Isle of Islay and Loch Indaal would be the names for the two new ferries.

Isle of Islay was the most popular name, and Loch Indaal and Pioneer in close second and third place. Loch Indaal is a sea loch on Islay south of Loch Gruinart.

Meanwhile while the row over the delays and escalating costs of two ferries being built at nationalised Ferguson Marine continues, CMAL indicated that two vessels being built by Cemre Marin Endustri in Turkey at a cost of £105m are on schedule. The first is on track to be due at the end of 2024 and the other in early 2025.

CMAL, which owns the nation's ageing ferry fleet, had invited four overseas companies to bid for the contract to build the two vessels - and excluded Inverclyde shipbuilder Ferguson Marine.

READ MORE: Minister says there's no 'blank cheque' over ferries crisis

It was confirmed Ferguson Marine embarked on a bid for the contract through the initial Pre-Qualification Questionnaire process but failed to make the shortlist.


The shipbuilder which runs the last remaining shipyard on the lower Clyde was nationalised after it financially collapsed in August 2019, amid soaring costs and delays to Glen Sannox and the vessel only known as Hull 802.

It came five years after tycoon Jim McColl first rescued the yard when it went bust.

The Islay route is already one of the busiest services for freight on the Clyde and Hebrides network, and CMAL said that the incoming ferries will support the island’s vital economic activity.

Kevin Hobbs, chief executive of CMAL said: "Work is progressing well at Cemre Shipyard on the sister ferries, and we look forward to seeing Isle of Islay and Loch Indaal out on the network serving communities in the not-too-distant future. We’re expecting delivery towards the end of 2024 for vessel one, and early 2025 for vessel two.”

Transport minister Kevin Stewart added: “These new vessels underline the Scottish Government’s commitment to bringing in new ferries and we want to continue to see progress on bringing vessels into service on time and budget.”

CMAL said the new ferries will have a "clear focus on freight, as well as sufficient passenger accommodation to meet anticipated demand", with capacity for up to 450 passengers and 100 cars, or 14 commercial vehicles.

It said this will provide a combined 40% increase in vehicle and freight capacity on the Islay routes and will improve the overall resilience of the wider fleet.

The new ships will replace MV Hebridean Isles and allow another ferry, MV Finlaggan, to be redeployed to another route.

But the Scottish Conservatives said it was "an embarrassment" that the government-run yard at Port Glasgow was "in no fit state to be considered for this contract".