Cammell Laird hosts naming ceremony for two new ferries

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Western Ferries Sound of Soay Sea Trials
Western Ferries Sound of Soay Sea Trials

Birkenhead based shipyard and engineering firm Cammell Laird has hosted a formal naming ceremony for the first complete ships constructed by the company in 20 years for Scottish ferry operator Western Ferries (see notes to editors).


The ceremony marked the completion of a multi-million pound contract which has seen Cammell Laird build two new car ferries for Western Ferries MV Sound of Seil (Cammell Laird keel number 1387) and MV Sound of Soay (keel number 1388).


The vessels continue Western Ferries tradition of naming its vessels after Scottish sounds. More than 200 guests attended the event which saw the ferries blessed before being christened with bottles of champagne broken over their bows by Glenis Coles and Maria Chittick, who are the wives of long-standing Western Ferries’ staff, Capt Robin Coles and Neil Chittick.

The new 220-passenger ferries will accommodate approximately 40 average size cars. Capable of also carrying heavy trucks, the ferries will have a clear deck height of 5.2 meters and a deadweight of about 220 tonnes with a mean moulded draft of 2.5 metres. Both vessels are nearing the completion of their finishing works and sea-trails, and will soon begin operations on Western Ferries route between Dunoon and Gourock.


Cammell Laird managing director Linton Roberts said the company is very proud to build the new vessels.

“Cammell Laird was exceptionally pleased to welcome the Western Ferries team for the historic naming ceremony. We fully appreciate the importance of this investment in state-of-the-art vessels for the company  and its  ambitions. Our employees worked hard to ensure the vessels provide the best possible passenger experience and support the growth of Western Ferries.

““Delivering the highest quality vessels to Western Ferries announces to international shipowners and operators, together with the maritime engineering sector in general, that Cammell Laird is still one of Europe’s leading and most competitive shipyards.”


Western Ferries’ managing director Gordon Ross said:


“The naming of these vessels marks the culmination of many months of hard work and commitment by everyone at the Cammell Laird yard. Witnessing both vessels being named are very proud moments for everyone involved in this project and the naming ceremonies mark one of the final stages before the vessels are delivered to the Clyde.


“Cammell Laird’s enthusiasm and passion for this project were clear to see from the outset and extended from construction hall floor to the Boardroom and in everyone else in between. The combination of their enthusiasm, professionalism, pride and the quality of their workmanship can be seen in the wonderful new ferries on show this afternoon. Western Ferries is very honoured to be associated with such a distinguished British shipyard.


“These new vessels now mean that all four of the Company’s vessels and the new berthing structures were all made in Britain, at a combined cost now exceeding £17m. These new ferries are larger, faster and have improved on board passenger facilities as well as being substantially more fuel efficient and produce lower exhaust gas emissions as compared to the vessels they are replacing.


“These new vessels provide clear evidence of the Company’s commitment to its customers and the communities it serves. They continue the Company’s on-going process of improving its service through increased frequencies and additional vehicle capacity.  These new vessels also represent a significant investment for our employees and their future, as it is the combined efforts of all of the Company’s employees which deliver the service that so many different people, for so many different reasons, rely on.”


Notes to editors


The vessels are the first complete ships constructed  at Cammell Laird  since the submarine HMS  Unicorn was launched in 1992  and commissioned by the  Royal Navy in 1993. The sub  was sold to Canada in 2002 and  is now HMCS Windsor.


About Cammell Laird

Cammell Laird is one of the most famous names in British industry.    The business is located on the River Mersey, in the Liverpool City Region, on the West Coast of England. It is in the centre of a marine cluster, with direct access to many support services. It has a 120 acre site with four dry docks, a large modular construction hall and extensive covered workshops.   Cammell Laird specialises in military ship refit, commercial ship repair, upgrade and conversion and heavy fabrication and engineering. It deals with a wide variety of projects ranging from specialist offshore conversions and fabrication, commercial ship-repair through to the refit and upgrade of highly complex naval auxiliaries. It has also recently re-entered the ship-building market.


The business is further active in the energy sector. It has become a hub of the off shore wind industry and it is offering its facilities and highly trained workforce of engineers for work in the civil nuclear sector and the off shore oil and gas sector.   Visit:

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