Isle of Mull ferry gets £450k refit

One of Scotland’s most well-known ferries is getting a major £450,000 refit at an Aberdeen dry dock.

Passengers disembark from Caledonian MacBrayne's Isle of Mull ferry in Oban. Picture: Donald Macleod

Caledonian MacBrayne’s “Isle of Mull” can be spotted at the harbour-side facility of fabrication and ship refitting specialists Dales Marine Services in the city’s York Street.

The 4,719 tonne ferry, which runs from Oban to Mull up to three times a day, is getting the refit and annual survey to ensure it complies with health and safety regulations.

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The boat, which is 90m long and 16.3m wide, is in the dry dock for two weeks and will leave the north-east port on December 19.

Dales Marine Services specialists will use 4,800 litres of paint as part of the refit – 137 times more than painting all the interior walls on the average three-bedroomed house.

General manager and director Michael Milne said it was great to have such a well-known vessel in the dry dock for refurbishment.

He said: “We get lots of boats in every year and most of them are supply or transport vessels so it’s certainly different to have a ferry in.

“The project will give our staff something a bit different to work on compared to what they’re used to but they love a challenge and a tight deadline, so they’re enjoying it.

“We realise how vitally important this ferry is for the people of Mull so we’re incredibly proud to have been given the opportunity for her annual refit.

“She’ll be in the harbour until just before Christmas and then, weather permitting, she’ll be sailed back to the West Coast to be put back into service – we hope we’ll do the people of Mull proud for the annual refit.”

As part of the refit to the “Isle of Mull”, the passenger areas of the vessel will be refurbished along with toilets and cabins. There is also some engine work, electrical repairs and steelwork to be carried out during the refit period.

The ship was launched from Ferguson Shipbuliders on the River Clyde in 1988 and she has a service speed of 15 knots.

Dales Marine Services‘s Aberdeen drydock has docked approximately 360 vessels in the last nine years, an average of 40 to 45 per year.