In 2011 it was announced that a new generation vessel would enter service in
late 2012 / early 2013 on the Sconser (Isle of Skye) - Raasay service due to
growing vehicle demands and to replace the aging LOCH STRIVEN. This, another
similar but larger 'Loch Class' style vessel, would be powered by a hybrid
combination of batteries and a small diesel engine - a world first for a sea
going RO-RO vessel. Built at Fergusons on the Clyde, following more than
£20m of Scottish government investment, she and a twin sister (destined for
service on Loch Fyne) would be much greener and efficient to operate than
any previous company vessels.
Early and Later 3D renders of HALLIAG
HALLAIG's Launch from Fergusons Slipway
On the 17th of December 2012 CMAL's newest vessel entered the Clyde at 1400 for the
first time after launching from Fergusons shipyard to a piped rendition of 'Over
The Sea to Skye'. Blessed by Deputy
First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon (and a bottle of Talisker) she holds two quite
significant 'firsts'. She is the first complete vessel to be launched on the
once prosperous river Clyde for almost 5 years. She also holds the claim to fame
in being the worlds first diesel electric hybrid RO-RO vessel - something which
in the future is likely to become the norm with environmental awareness
prominent in new build contracts.
The Ferguson Group worked with Glasgow-based ship design specialists Seatec
and electrical specialists Tec-Source to deliver the ferries.
The project is being supported by a Scottish government loan and additional
funding of £450,000 from the European Regional Development Fund. HALLAIG and her
sister will be owned by Caledonian Maritime Assets (CMAL) and operated by CalMac
Ferries as is the arrangement with all of the current fleet.
Whilst she was being built, and indeed being fitting out, her crew underwent extensive training on the vessels radically new hybrid
equipment. This complex array of batteries coupled to sea water cooled Volvo
engines will render her quieter, more efficient and better passage for
passengers and crew than her predecessor. It is anticipated that she will
achieve a minimum 20% power from batteries (meaning a 20% reduction in fuel than
a diesel mechanical propulsion system) as Paul Camilli a crew member notes in
"Using 'cutting edge' technology developed from recent leaps in lithium ion
battery construction the HALLAIG will combine a conventional diesel electric
drive with a high powered 700Kwh LiFePo4 battery bank that can be charged
overnight from a shore connection." Paul has a brilliant breakdown of how
she is to operate on his site, there are also full details on the advanced
system including drawings and diagrams are available from CMAL in a
At lower speeds and light loaded conditions; greater fuel savings can be
achieved resulting in a greater reduction of CO2 emissions.
On days with reduced numbers of crossings it will be possible to operate on
batteries only for some crossings.
In port the vessel is capable of operating on batteries only with zero emissions.
Lithium Ion battery string on board HALLAIG has a total weight about the same as 4 to 5 cars.
Charging HALLIAG for 10 -13 hours overnight from a renewable source will result
in an advantage of cheaper tariff as there are currently no plans to charge during the operation day.
An automatic plug in system is under investigation and may be implemented at a
After fitting out and trials in April / May 2013 she will enter service on the
Rassay crossing in after a delivery voyage and handing over ceremony in May
Update: October 2013
HALLAIG arrived under her builders Fergusons ownership and house flag at Rassay
on the 13th of October to a gathering of locals and her predecessor LOCH STRIVEN
still holding the station.
More on her arrival
here (Paul Camilli, Word Press Blog)
Text thanks to Ships
Video: Paul Camilli
Pictures: 3D Renders - CMAL, On Slipway - Andrew Hickford SoC,
Fitting Out Quay - John Openshaw, Loch Striven and Hallaig - George
Rankine, At New Pier - Paul Camilli