MV Caledonian Isles
Arriving in Brodick, May 2019.
|Name:||MV Caledonian Isles|
|Owner:||Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited|
|Port of registry:||Glasgow, United Kingdom|
|Route:||Ardrossan - Brodick|
|Builder:||Richards (Shipbuilders) Ltd, Lowestoft|
|Launched:||25 May 1993|
|Maiden voyage:||25 August 1993|
|Length:||94 m (308 ft)|
|Beam:||15.8 m (51 ft 10 in)|
|Draft:||3.2 m (10 ft 6 in)|
|Propulsion:||Bow Thruster: Caterpillar Diesels approx 520 kW (700 hp)|
|Speed:||15 kn (28 km/h) (service)|
|Capacity:||1000 passengers, 110 cars|
MV Caledonian Isles (Scottish Gaelic: Eileanan Chaledonia) is one of the largest ships owned by Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited. She is operated by Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac), which runs ferries to the Hebridean and Clyde Islands of Scotland. Caledonian Isles serves the Isle of Arran on the Ardrossan to Brodick route. As it is one of CalMac's busiest routes, Caledonian Isles has the largest passenger capacity in the fleet, and can carry up to 1000 passengers and 110 cars, with a crossing time of 55 minutes. She is used extensively by day-trippers to the Isle of Arran during the summer.
Modelled on the popular MV Isle of Mull of five years earlier, Caledonian Isles incorporates a fully enclosed car deck with watertight ramps at either end. When closed, the bow ramp seals the car deck and when open, forms the bridge between the ship and the linkspan. The car deck incorporates a set of mezzanine decks, one down each side of the central casing and each divided into three sections. These can be moved up and down to their deployed or stowed positions. When deployed, these allow additional cars to be loaded. If the mezzanine decks are fully deployed there is insufficient height to accommodate lorries and other high vehicles other than at the bow and stern. The central casing means that she can only carry one lane of commercial vehicles down each side of the car deck. The passenger accommodation is similar to that onboard the Mull ship. Forward of the main entrance square is the cafeteria, with stairways leading up to the observation lounge and the outside deck. Aft of the entrance there are lounges down either side with toilet blocks, the shop and a bar lounge further towards the stern. The next deck up has the forward observation lounge at the bow and crew accommodation. An open deck extends right around the vessel on this level, including forward of the observation lounge and overlooking the bow. The upper deck has the bridge and outside seating from the huge red funnel towards the stern. Also on this level are the four enclosed lifeboats – 2 larger and 2 smaller boats mounted on davits. The 2 larger lifeboats were replaced in 2017 to make way for the new marine evacuation system.
Caledonian Isles has only ever operated between Ardrossan and Brodick on Arran. She normally undertakes up to 5 crossings a day in each direction, leaving Ardrossan at 0700, 0945, 1230, 1515 and 1800, and leaving Brodick at 0820, 1105, 1355, 1640 and 1920. The 1920 Saturday departure was removed during the winter 2016/2017 timetable to facilitate a 0820 sailing from Brodick on Sunday, where a crew safety drill has been a normal occurrence since October 2016.
During the period of the summer timetable there is an additional sailing on Friday evenings, leaving Ardrossan at 2030, returning from Brodick at 2140.
Due to the demand for capacity, a second ferry has supplemented the Caledonian Isles during the summer season since 2005. This peak summer service originally operated between June and August however, due to demand, operates from May to September since 2013. The additional service was provided by MV Saturn from 2005 until 2011, and by MV Isle of Arran from 2012. During the summer 2012 period, the capacity was limited to 12 passengers for HGV drivers during the week, whilst a full passenger service was provided on Saturdays. From May to September 2013, MV Isle of Arran could carry its full capacity throughout the week, doubling the service to Arran from Monday to Wednesday. Isle of Arran undertook services from Ardrossan to Campbeltown on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, returning on Friday, Saturday (via Brodick) and Sunday, whilst still operating from Ardrossan to Arran outwith its Campbeltown sailings.
On first coming into service, Caledonian Isles usually berthed overnight at Ardrossan in the summer and at Brodick in the winter timetable. Now[when?], she usually berths overnight at Ardrossan all year. During periods of adverse weather, it is not uncommon for the vessel to berth overnight at Brodick, with either cancellation of the 1920 service from Brodick, or a return to Brodick after the 1920 eastbound sailing. The 0700 sailing from Ardrossan the following morning is then cancelled. During adverse weather conditions, Caledonian Isles has been diverted to Gourock. This happened on 4 January 2012, following storm damage to the linkspan at Ardrossan.
In February 2012, Caledonian Isles was in dry-dock to repair damage sustained in a collision with Winton Pier, Ardrossan. She was relieved by Isle of Arran which was often diverted to Wemyss Bay and Gourock. In February 2014, MV Isle of Arran once again relieved Caledonian Isles after she broke down. In April 2015, MV Isle of Arran had problems with her prop shaft which delayed the introduction of her additional Arran summer sailings, leaving Caledonian Isles to carry all the traffic and run additional sailings at night.
In August 2015, it was announced that two new ferries would be built at Ferguson Marine Engineering at Port Glasgow on the Clyde. The much delayed MV Glen Sannox is expected to serve Arran from late 2021, replacing MV Isle of Arran and allowing Caledonian Isles to become the second ferry on the Ardrossan-Brodick and the Ardrossan-Campbeltown crossings. The second new vessel is expected to replace MV Hebrides on the Uig Triangle.
Before heading to Birkenhead for her overhaul in January 2018, she called at Campbeltown to test the berth. The last sailing from the old Brodick pier was the 0820 to Ardrossan on Tuesday 20 March 2018. Caledonian Isles started operating from the new Brodick ferry terminal later that day. The new terminal has two ferry berths: the west side berth and the east side berth.
On 16 March 2019 Caledonian Isles rammed the pier at Brodick after her bow thrusters failed, causing significant damage to her bow visor. During her repairs, MV Hebridean Isles took up service on the Arran crossing, while MV Catriona operated a shuttle service from Claonaig to Lochranza to clear the backlog of traffic unable to board the smaller Hebridean Isles at Ardrossan.
In October 2019, Caledonian Isles was diverted to Troon as the linkspans in both Ardrossan and Gourock - the vessel's usual port of diversion - failed, resulting in vehicles being unable to board or alight from the ferry there. During this period, MV Loch Riddon operated additional services from Claonaig to Lochranza. Bad weather prevented Caledonian Isles from berthing in Troon, reducing the service to passenger-only from Ardrossan.
During the winter season, Caledonian Isles goes for her annual overhaul, and is commonly relieved by MV Isle of Arran, MV Clansman or MV Hebrides. Caledonian Isles has also been relieved by MV Isle of Mull, MV Lord of the Isles and MV Hebridean Isles.
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