THE second of four ferries being built to service the Scottish islands has been launched in a shipyard in Turkey.

MV Loch Indaal was launched Saturday, June 8, and will serve Islay and Jura alongside its sister vessel, MV Isle of Islay, which was completed back in March.

The vessel is the second of four ferries which are being built in Cemre Marin Endustri shipyard in Yalova, Turkey,  to serve the Scottish islands and will be run by the Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL).

The first vessel for Islay and Jura, MV Isle of Islay, is due to arrive in Scotland at the end of the year, with MV Loch Indaal scheduled for arrival in February 2025.

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MV Loch Indaal has the capacity to accommodate up to 450 passengers and 100 cars, or 14 commercial vehicles which will increase vehicle and freight capacity on the Islay routes by 40%.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, says the local communities are looking forward to a modern and resilient service for the islands.

She said: “This is another important milestone in the Scottish Government’s commitment to delivering six new major vessels into service by 2026.

“I have no doubt the communities and businesses on Islay and Jura are looking forward to a more resilient and modern ferry service, with further vessels set to bring similar improvements to other parts of the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services network.”

The vessel will undergo further outfitting and preparations in the water before comprehensive sea trials take place.

Once it arrives from Turkey MV Loch Indaal will undergo local operational trials and the crew will get to familiarise themselves with the boat before entering service.

An official naming ceremony will take place on Islay early next year.

Kevin Hobbs, chief executive officer at CMAL, said: "The successful launch of MV Loch Indaal represents another major achievement in our shipyard construction program. Following the launches of MV Isle of Islay and MV Glen Rosa earlier this year, it is wonderful to see another vessel in the water.

“We look forward to the ferry’s completion and delivery, and to seeing the positive impact she will have on our communities as she enters service next year.”

Duncan Mackison, interim chief executive of CalMac, added: “We welcome the launch of MV Loch Indaal and are looking forward to the vessel joining the CalMac fleet.

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 “Her addition will increase resilience and will also significantly increase the number of passengers and vehicles we can carry on the Islay route.

“With six new major vessels due to join the fleet by 2026 and significant infrastructure upgrades at numerous ports and harbours underway or planned, we are confident that lifeline ferry services for Islay and across the network will continue to improve.”