MV Alfred is expected to begin a nine-month charter with CalMac from Thursday 27 April.
Pentland Ferries has announced that MV Pentalina will return to service on Wednesday morning, releasing MV Alfred from the Pentland Firth.
CalMac will begin berthing trials with MV Alfred, as the vessel has never operated or completed berthing trials on any CalMac route, these are required before she is welcomed into the fleet. Deployment plans will be confirmed as soon as these have been completed.
Ports expected to be visited by MV Alfred over the coming week to conduct these trials include Ullapool, Lochmaddy, Port Askaig on Islay, Campbeltown, Brodick, Ardrossan and Troon. The vessel will also conduct trials at Ayr harbour to determine suitability as a lay by berth. All going well it is expected that trials will be completed on 30 April, with the vessel available for service thereafter.
Robbie Drummond, Chief Executive of CalMac, said: "I welcome the news from Pentland Ferries that MV Alfred will join us this week. Our primary focus 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 for MV Alfred to operate 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 continue to engage with network community representatives and commercial customers to discuss deployment options to support services across the network."