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PLEASE NOTE: the Fleet News pages are no longer updated on a regular basis. For news updates as movements happen, go to the SoC Forum where news is reported very frequently - you can even report it yourself!
28/06/05 The new Bute was spotted off the front at Gourock at 22.45 this evening, presumably headed for the pier (or perhaps JWD.)
22/06/05  From 'The Buteman': "Work began on moving Rothesay pier’s new gangway into place on Sunday, with foot passengers boarding and disembarking the ferry via the car deck." More on this article on The Buteman's website here (external link).
21/06/05  We have received UNCONFIRMED reports that the Bute may be leaving Poland tomorrow for a possible direct 3-4 day crossing to the Clyde. Any further updates or confirmed reports will be posted as and when we receive them.
  Two late comers for the 19:00 Craignure departure tonight on board Isle of Mull were quickly ushered to the Lochaline ferry Loch Fyne which abruptly made a 180 degree turn mid crossing to pick them up for the last crossing from the Island for the day.
20/06/05 We are getting a report that Bute has been possibly sighted from Norfolk Line's Dawn Merchant in the English channel..
16/06/05 NorthLink: The engine problem with the Hamnavoe was repaired this Afternoon allowing the ship to return to full power and therefore the normal crossing time of 1 hour 30 minutes. She arrived at Aberdeen at 08:30.

Transport Minister Nicol Stephen today gave the go-ahead for CalMac to begin work on a new £3 million ferry access ramp at Oban pier.

The Minister approved CalMac’s application for a harbour revision order which will give them the power to build a second linkspan at the pier. This will increase the pier’s capacity, minimising delays and improving access to the islands. The decision follows a public local inquiry held in February into the proposals.

Mr Stephen said:

“Oban is one of the west coast’s busiest ports serving Coll, Colonsay, Mull, South Uist and Tiree. These islands are currently served by a single linkspan which is due for replacement in the next few years.

“Good quality ferry links are vital to our island communities which is why I have decided to give the go-ahead to a new second linkspan. This will increase capacity and reduce congestion, particularly during the busy summer months.

“I understand the views of the objectors but I am satisfied that their concerns can be addressed by CalMac. I have asked the company to work with local fishing interests and others who use the harbour to ensure appropriate vessel management measures.”

As part of the overall project the Scottish Executive will also be providing support for CalMac to provide covered elevated passenger walkways connecting the new terminal with each of the ferry berths.

1. The proposed second linkspan is an adjustable steel lifting bridge, constructed alongside the pier, for the purpose of allowing road vehicles access from the pier to a car ferry at all tide levels. The linkspan and associated works total nearly £3 million investment.

2. CalMac is the harbour authority for Oban pier. Under the terms of the Harbours Act 1964, the authority must apply for a Harbour Revision Order to grant them the power to build and operate the new linkspan.
15/06/05 NorthLink: The Hamnavoe has Today suffered a problem with one of her two main engines. The ship is currently operating the Scrabster Stromness route with only one engine. The crossing time is therefore increased to 2 hours from the regular 1 hour 30 minutes. At this stage there is no indication what the problem is or when it will be resolved.
13/06/05 Saturn today undertook a berthing trial at Wemyss Bay, lying bow-in at the linkspan so as to test the controversial, newly-constructed passenger gangway. Shortly after she backed out and tied up again stern-in so she could resume her timetable.
10/06/05 An artist impression of the new Wemyss Bay to Rothesay ferry, Bute, was released today. This shows what she is going to look like. She is the 70 metres long and 15.3 metres wide. With a speed of 13/14 knots, she will complete the crossing in 30 minutes, with a turnaround time of 15 mins. The inside resembles the Coruisk, with a main lounge at the front looking forward, the galley in the middle with seating at the rear and toilets. She has an open end, with also an open after deck, which is covered over for passenger to sit outside, but not get wet. She has twin funnels, and a visor for future drive through service. Also on the upper deck she has seats, and a walk round to the front of the ship. and a couple of decks above is the fully enclosed bridge, resembling the Hebrides. She has a car deck height of 5.1 metres, and is able to take the new 60 seater coaches and the latest 42 tonne lorries. She has azimuth propulsion, similar to the Coruisk, and she is also fitted with Stabilisers which will help greatly when crossing in the usual winter weather on the Clyde. She is currently on trials in Poland and will hopefully be named on Friday 1st of July in Rothesay, she will then go on a brief cruise with 200 or so invited guests. She will then take up the service later that evening.

Wemyss Bay's new gangway is coming along at a great pace, over the last 6 weeks it has been assembled. This has been designed to fit all vessels, from the Streakers, to Lord of the Isles. But the main purpose was for the gangway to fit the new Bute at all states of the tide. It is a robust, covered in, design similar to Oban Gangway. Another advantage is that the gangway will fit Coruisk when she is relieving on the Clyde, without her having to have her wings added to her everytime she wants to work on the run. Rothesay are also to receive a Brand new Gangway, but it has not been assembled yet. These two gangways are costing a total of around £250,000. This is a worthwhile price as it gives a great advantage to people, especially old people when boarding, as the vessel can be very high in water. There is also a new ticket office at the bottom of Wemyss Bay pier for passengers to buy tickets, check times etc.

Picture: Cal Mac
MV Bute Impression.

Picture: SoC Crew
W'Bay's New Gangway.

05/06/05  NorthLink: Hascosay will depart for Denmark today for engine repair work in dry dock. It is expected that the Clare will cover for her freight run.
 NorthLink: 'NorthLink Charity Cruise Raises £1,600 for Lerwick RNLI'. As part of Lerwick Lifeboat Day (Saturday, 28 May 2005), NorthLink welcomed onboard more than 250 passengers for the RNLI cruise, raising over £1,600 for the charity. In what has become an annual event, MV Hrossey departed Homlsgarth Terminal, Lerwick, at 1430hrs for a trip around the isles of Bressay and Noss, before returning into harbour at 1530hrs. During the cruise, passengers were treated to an exciting display involving the local lifeboat. Including the contribution made by NorthLink’s cruise, the total raised by this year’s Lerwick Lifeboat Day was over £4,500. Jane Leask, NorthLink’s service manager in Lerwick, said: “NorthLink was only too happy to provide the use of MV Hrossey and her crew for this worthwhile charity event. The charity cruise has become a popular part of Lerwick Lifeboat Day and we are delighted to assist Lerwick RNLI with their fundraising.”

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