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Rolls-Royce has secured contracts from two Scottish operators, Western Ferries and Orkney Ferries, to supply thrusters for their vessels.

Western Ferries is building two new 50m double-ended ferries, which will be operated on the Dunoon to Gourock route, across the Firth of Clyde.

Each vessel will be equipped with two Rolls-Royce Aquamaster US 105 CRP thrusters, which can rotate at 360 degrees to propel and maneuver the vessels and make them suitable for quick turn-around operations.

Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead is building the vessels, which are reported to be larger, faster and more fuel efficient than the ships they will replace.

Cammell Laird commercial director Rob McBurney said, "Machinery selection for these new ferries was a joint effort and the Rolls-Royce thrusters were chosen because of the good operating experience, improved fuel consumption and manoeuvrability achieved on Western Ferries’ existing vessels Sound of Shuna and Sound Of Scarba."

The other contract is for the ferry Hoy Head, operated by Orkney Ferries, which will be equipped with Rolls-Royce thrusters as part of a major refit taking place at the same shipyard.

Work under the deal includes updating and lengthening the vessel to increase vehicle capacity and the installation of a new propulsion system.

The Hoy Head will return to service in 2013, operating its usual route between the Orkney mainland and the Islands of Hoy and Flotta.

Image: Rolls-Royce will install the thrusters on the vessels of both Western Ferries and Orkney Ferries. Photo: Rolls-Royce