Cammell Laird christens first newbuildings in 20 years

AUGUST 16, 2013 — Britain's Cammell Laird has marked a milestone with the christening of two ferries that are the first complete ships constructed at its Birkenhead shipyard since since the submarine HMS Unicorn was launched in 1992 and commissioned by the Royal Navy in 1993.

Built for Western Ferries, the vessels are the 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 the christening ceremony, 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.

shuna400The new vessels can carry 54 cars and are enlarged versions of the company's roll-on roll-off ferry MV Sound of Shuna, which can carry 45 cars. Both vessels are nearing the completion of their finishing works and sea-trials, and will soon begin operations on Western Ferries route between Dunoon and Gourock.

Newbuilds are enlarged version of Sound of Shuma (right)

"Cammell Laird was exceptionally pleased to welcome the Western Ferries team fo"r the historic naming ceremony," said Cammell Laird managing director Linton Roberts. 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."

"The naming of these vessels marks the culmination of many months of hard work and commitment by everyone at the Cammell Laird yard," said Western Ferries' managing director Gordon Ross, noting that 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," said Mr. Ross. "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 honored 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 £17 million. 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.