An additional ferry serving the Clyde and Hebrides network has been awarded funding from the Scottish Government.
The MV Alfred will join the CalMac fleet on a nine-month time charter after a £9m agreement was reached with Pentland Ferries.
The investment from the Scottish Government will cover berthing dues, fuel, commercial charter rate and other costs.
CalMac will engage with communities and confirm the details of her deployment in due course.
The Scottish Government’s minister for transport Jenny Gilruth said it was a “key step” in the “longer term commitment” to retain a fully crewed vessel in the fleet as set out in the draft islands Connectivity Plan.
She added: “The Scottish Government is committed to improving the lifeline ferry fleet and better meeting the needs of island communities. Since May 2021, we have bought and deployed an additional vessel in the MV Loch Frisa, chartered the MV Arrow and now the MV Alfred to provide additional capacity, commissioned four new vessels and progressed investment to improve key ports and harbours.”
Robbie Drummond, CalMac’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted that MV Alfred will be joining the CalMac fleet, her addition will provide much-needed resilience.
“While her design means that she can only operate to some ports, having this extra vessel will help support the rest of the fleet during times of annual maintenance or disruption.”