Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited has announced that a new ferry is to be commissioned for the run between Stornoway and Ullapool. The boat is to replace the MV Muirneag (which is to be scrapped in October 2013) and the MV Isle of Lewis. The new vessel can carry 700 passengers, 270 fewer than the current Isle of Lewis, 143 cars (20 more than the current boat) and / or 20 commercial vehicles.
This will be a single vessel for the route, although the old IoL will remain as a stand-by; the new boat will be running 24/7.
Whilst welcoming a new ferry on a route where the old vessels
continue to be plagued by breakdowns, I feel that the reduction in
passenger capacity is to be deplored. The IoL can be packed out (think
of the Hebridean Celtic Festival, or the Mod).
Veteran island blogger Calumannabel has suggested we call the new ferry the Isle of Lewis Continuing.