Highlands & Islands MSP Emma Roddick has welcomed funding from the Scottish Government to charter an additional ferry for the Clyde and Hebrides network, saying it shows a clear commitment to the island communities which rely on lifeline ferry services.
The MV Alfred will join the CalMac fleet on a nine-month charter following an agreement between the Scottish Government and Pentland Ferries which saw the government invest around £9 million to cover operation costs.
Speaking in the Scottish Parliament chamber, Ms Roddick welcomed the news and sought clarification from the Scottish Government on where the vessel would be deployed and asked what benefits it would bring to the network.
In response, Minister Patrick Harvie said that the priority was to support resilience across the Clyde and Hebrides network and mitigate the impact of disruption. Mr Harvie also explained that berthing trials would be carried out before the vessel entered service to confirm suitable routes, with the MV Alfred expected to be deployed to Arran and Islay.
Commenting, Ms Roddick said:
“I was delighted to learn of the MV Alfred’s charter to support the CalMac fleet and improve the resilience of our lifeline ferry services.
“This additional ferry will be very welcome news for our island communities, providing much-needed support coming up to the busy summer season when we know disruptions can occur.
“I am so glad to see the Scottish Government recognising where improvements are needed and acting. This investment is a clear demonstration of the continued commitment to improving lifeline ferry services and meeting the needs of our island communities.”