MV Loch Seaforth (1947)
Loch Seaforth at Mallaig in 1971.
|Name:||MV Loch Seaforth|
|Namesake:||Loch Seaforth, sea loch between Lewis and Harris|
|Operator:||David MacBrayne Ltd|
|Port of registry:||Glasgow, United Kingdom|
|Route:||Stornoway mail boat|
|Builder:||William Denny and Brothers of Dumbarton|
|Launched:||19 May, 1947|
|In service:||6 December 1947|
|Out of service:||1973|
|Length:||69.90 m (229 ft 4 in)|
|Beam:||11 m (36 ft 1 in)|
|Draught:||3.40 m (11 ft 2 in)|
|Installed power:||2 x 6-cylinder Sulzer Bros Ltd Winterthur two-stroke diesel engines, 1,800 bhp at 235 rpm|
|Propulsion:||twin 3-blade propellers|
Built in 1947, Loch Seaforth was the delayed second of two mailboats ordered in 1938; the first, MV Lochiel had entered service in 1939. Larger and faster than her predecessors, she rapidly became a success at Stornoway.
She developed a reputation with the press for mishap, with groundings in Kyle, Mallaig and off Longay. The second of those, in 1966, left her high and dry for two days. On 22 March 1973, she ran aground on Cleit Rock in the Sound of Gunna. All passengers were safely taken off and she was towed to Gott Bay, Tiree. A bulkhead gave way when she was pumped out and she sank completely, blocking Tiree's only pier until 11 May, when the former Stornoway mail boat was lifted onto the beach. She was re-floated and towed to Troon for scrapping.
On 8 April 2013, Caledonian Maritime Assets announced that the new £42 million replacement ferry for the Stornoway to Ullapool crossing, ordered in June 2012, had been named Loch Seaforth, the name of which won a competition run by CMAL, and thus reviving the name of the MacBrayne's mail steamer. She was constructed at Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft in Germany, with building starting in September 2013. Loch Seaforth (II) was launched on 21 March 2014, before being delivered to Scotland in November that year. She replaced the former vessel on the route, the Isle of Lewis of 1995, in February 2015.
Loch Seaforth had a short single funnel. All her cargo space was forward and the foremast incorporated two derricks. She had space for sixteen cars. The "MacBrayne Highlander", a "quasi-figurehead" on her bows, appeared in company publicity for many years. In 1949 Loch Seaforth became the first member of the MacBrayne fleet to be fitted with radar.
Built for service from Stornoway, Loch Seaforth started her career there on 6 December 1947, replacing SS Lochness. She spent most of her career on the service to Mallaig and Kyle of Lochalsh. Until 1956, she made a regular call at Applecross and from 1959 to 1963, also provided an occasional car ferry service to Armadale, Skye.
Derrick-loading was slow and traffic was lost to the 1964 hoist-loading MV Hebrides at Uig, Skye. In January 1972, Loch Seaforth was withdrawn from the Stornoway route and transferred to Oban, serving Coll, Tiree, Castlebay and Lochboisdale in place of the younger MV Claymore. Soon after this, Ullapool became the mainland port for Stornoway, initially served by MV Iona and then the converted MV Clansman.