Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) has today announced Isle of Islay and Loch Indaal as the names for the two new ferries to serve Islay and Jura following a public vote.

CMAL, which owns the ferries, produced a shortlist of names. Each name on the list has ties to the landscape and history of Islay and Jura, and those with an interest in the ferries were encouraged to vote over a two – week period.

Over 1,300 votes were cast, with Isle of Islay being the most popular name, and Loch Indaal and Pioneer in close second and third place.

Kevin Hobbs, Chief Executive of CMAL said: “We had an excellent response to our public naming vote, and I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone who got involved. We had a strong list of names to choose from, with Isle of Islay and Loch Indaal coming out on top as clear favourites amongst voters.

“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.”

Minister for Transport Kevin Stewart said: “It’s great to see the public choose two fitting names for these new ferries, and I very much look forward to seeing the MV Isle of Islay and MV Loch Indaal enter service on the Islay routes.

“These links are some of the busiest services for freight on the Clyde and Hebrides network so the vessels will bring welcome additional capacity, reliability, and resilience for our island communities.

“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.”

The two 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. 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 Islay ferries form part of a programme of investment by CMAL, funded through Scottish Government commitments to capital investment of around £700 million in ferry infrastructure and related services over the five years from 2021 to 2026.  Wider plans will deliver other new small and major vessels for the fleet and upgrades of harbour infrastructure with future options being considered through the emerging Islands Connectivity Plan.