The island of Lismore will have a new ferry running to Port Appin by the end of this year.
Argyll and Bute Council has awarded the contract to build the new 12 metre replacement ferry to Welsh marine engineers and workboat builders Mainstay Marine Solutions.
The new ferry will be built to meet the specifications set out in new regulations being introduced by the Maritime Coastguard Agency.
Policy Lead for Roads and Amenity Services, Councillor Rory Colville, said: “Mainstay won the contract in the face of stiff competition from throughout the UK. At 33-years-old, the current Lismore Ferry has served the island well, but it’s time to upgrade.
“Now, we look forward to working with Mainstay over the coming months to deliver a brand new ferry that will future-proof this life-line service for Lismore residents for the next three decades.”
The new all-steel vessel will have a crew of two and space for 23 passengers. Designed by Keel Marine, it has a cruising speed of eight knots.
Funded through Transport Scotland, it will cost around £500,000.
On completion of sea trials at Mainstay’s base at Pembroke Dock on the Milford Haven Waterway, the ferry will steam the 302 nautical miles north to delivery point on Loch Linnhe.
Stewart Graves, Managing Director, commented: ‘’As the ferry will provide an essential service to and from Lismore, quality of build and reliability in use were essential. Mainstay are delighted to have won this on the back of their long-standing reputation for delivering vessels that meet those criteria. We look forward to the islanders enjoying excellent service from the ferry for many years to come."