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Customer Update - MV Alfred chartered as relief vessel for 9 months

Customer Update - MV Alfred chartered as relief vessel for 9 months 

Updated 12 February 2023 - Read our latest customer update on MV Alfred.

Update 28 July 2023 - Additional capacity on MV Alfred from 2 August to 5 August 2023 

Following discussion with Pentland Ferries and Transport Scotland, we are pleased to announce that there will be an increase in passenger capacity on MV Alfred for four days from Wednesday 2 to Saturday 5 August 2023.

This is in response to a community request to provide additional passenger capacity during the Arran Farmers Show (Wednesday 2 August) and Brodick Highland Games (Saturday 5 August).

Pentland Ferries will provide extra crew, allowing MV Alfred to provide service for 428 passengers over the four-day period, rather than the current passenger limit of 230. 

We are pleased to be able to offer this additional support to Arran during these key events in the community calendar. 

Due to increased passenger numbers travelling for these events, all foot passengers travelling on these dates must travel on the sailings you have purchased tickets for. If there is capacity, you might be able to travel on an earlier sailing, but if you miss your sailing then you will need to purchase another ticket for a later sailing. Failure to travel on your booked sailing could result in you being unable to travel. 

You can view the timetable here. Always check our service status pages before travel for the latest information on this route. 

Update 24 May 2023 - MV Alfred will continue to be deployed on the Ardrossan-Brodick route until 29 June.  

From Friday 26 May, she will operate three return sailings per day, Friday-Monday, and two earlier departure return sailings Tuesday-Thursday, berthing at the Irish berth, Ardrossan.  

Existing MV Isle of Arran bookings will be migrated to MV Alfred sailings. We know our lines and channels are busier than normal at present - so we will contact those customers who are affected directly, you don't need to get in touch with us. Any remaining capacity on the vessel will operate on a non-bookable basis to allow us to accommodate the disrupted bookings. MV Caledonian Isles will continue to operate as a bookable service.  

There is no retail offering available on board, unfortunately. The passenger lift from the car deck is currently unavailable and is being repaired, however in the meantime, the stair climber is available to assist you.  

The Ardrossan-Campbeltown service will now commence on 30 June, and not 1 June as previously published, while we manage the effect of delays to the annual overhaul schedule and vessel redeployment. We will contact those customers who are affected and we are sorry to have to make this change to the planned service.  

Vessel deployment plans beyond 29 June 2023 will remain under review based on the wider network needs. View timetables here

Update 11 May 2023 - Following successful completion of berthing trials, we are pleased to announce that MV Alfred will commence service with Caledonian MacBrayne on Friday 12 May. 

Berthing trials have shown that the ports suitable for MV Alfred are Lochmaddy, Ullapool, Port Askaig, Brodick, Ardrossan (Irish berth only), Troon and Campbeltown. Unfortunately, due to a technical issue with the vessel's starboard thruster, she is currently unable to be deployed to Port Askaig. Pentland Ferries continue to work on mitigations to resolve this.  

As Arran should have a two-vessel service on its main route at this time, MV Alfred will initially be deployed between Ardrossan and Brodick. The vessel will be introduced into service on a non-bookable, turn up and go basis for the first two weeks to allow for familiarisation and to ascertain if the passage time and timetables are realistic. She will operate two return services a day and will berth overnight at the Irish berth in Ardrossan. 

As advised previously, there will not be any onboard service available on board. Additionally, the passenger lift from the car deck is currently unavailable due to a technical issue, although a stair climber is available. Passengers who would prefer to use a lift can travel on MV Caledonian Isles. 

You can view the timetable here

Update 25 April 2023 - Read our latest press release on MV Alfred here

Update 20 April, 2023 - Caledonian MacBrayne's charter of MV Alfred was due to begin on 18 April, however Pentland Ferries is unable to release the vessel to us because of delays with their replacement vessel MV Pentalina. This means we are not yet able to bring MV Alfred into our own service to aid us with the current vessel deployment and availability issue. As yet, we don't have a confirmed date when MV Alfred will be released, but we are in communication with them, and will update the communities we serve as soon as we have that detail.  

Following confirmation from the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland, we're pleased to confirm that MV Alfred will join our fleet on a 9-month charter from 18 April 2023, when she will undertake berthing trials prior to being available for service.  

The vessel will be chartered from Pentland Ferries who will operate services on behalf of Caledonian MacBrayne. 

MV Alfred from Pentland Ferries

MV Alfred FAQs 

What routes can MV Alfred operate on?  

Berthing trials will be completed before the vessel enters service to ensure that MV Alfred can operate on a number of our routes. Although MV Alfred can operate to some of our ports, she will not be able to deliver services in line with current timetables, due to the vessel's design.  

 As the vessel operates 'single ended' - an estimated turnaround time of approximately 45 minutes is also required. Further information on her deployment will be published once berthing trials have been completed. 

The primary focus for the use of MV Alfred will be to have her available for resilience purposes and provide relief benefits across the network. This should help mitigate the impact of disruption or where certain islands are reduced to single vessel service.   Although resilience availability will remain the priority, there may be opportunities to facilitate some additional, non-bookable freight sailings, when possible, to support capacity constraints. This is most likely to be focused on freight operations at key pinch points on the network. We will be engaging with network community representatives over the next few weeks to discuss deployment options to support resilience across the network.  

Will MV Alfred be operated by Caledonian MacBrayne crew or Pentland Ferries?  

All crew will be provided by Pentland Ferries who will be responsible for delivery of service and the operational, technical and safety management of the vessel, including maintenance, repair, overhaul and provision of crew throughout the charter period.  

What food and drink offer will be available on board MV Alfred?  

There will be no food and drink offer available.  

What are the terms of the charter? 

We are not able to share details of the terms of the charter however, CalMac have exclusive use of the vessel for the full duration of the charter. 

Date: 20 March 2023



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