German shipbuilder Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) has won a £42m contract from Scotland-based Caledonian Maritime Assets (CMAL) to build a new type of RoPax ferry.
The new 116m roll on roll off vehicle passenger ferry will be capable of operating all through the day and will have capacity to carry up to 700 passengers, and 143 cars or 26 trucks at a time.
It is scheduled to be delivered in June 2014 and after delivery will provide transport services between Stornoway and Ullapool, linking the mainland of northwestern Scotland with the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides.
Financing for the vessel is being provided by Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) and CMAL is expected to enter into an operating lease with LBG and, upon delivery, the vessel will be chartered to the operator of the route.
CMAL chief executive Guy Platten said, "The new ferry, which will be faster, greener, more reliable, will provide a critical lifeline service for communities between the Western Isles and the Scottish mainland."
The recent contract from CMAL follows FSG's order from Western Geco to build two 127m seismic ships that are scheduled for delivery in 2014.
FSG managing director Peter Sierk said that for the customer, serving this route with just one rather than two ships was the most economic solution.
"Doing so means, however, that the new ferry has to be capable of meeting very high demands on a daily basis," Sierk said.
"Quite apart from quality, the ferry has to be as reliable as possible so that timetable delays and even breakdowns can be avoided."
FSG said that the vessels it builds consume up to 30% less fuel than conventional vessels and are characterised by low emissions.
In addition to the CMAL order, the yard's current order book includes two RoRo freight ferries for Ulusoy Sealines in Turkey, a RoRo freight ferry for U N Ro-Ro, also in Turkey, a ConRo ferry for a Canadian shipping firm, two multi-functional project load vessels for Rolldock in the Netherlands and two offshore seismic ships for WesternGeco in England.
Image: The RoPax ferry will be 116m long and can carry up to 700 passengers and 143 cars or 26 trucks at a time. Photo: FSG