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11 December 2015, 14:09
A third £12 million diesel-electric hybrid ferry has been launched on the Clyde.
The ship, named MV Catriona, was built by Ferguson Marine Engineering in Port Glasgow and is designed to operate on short CalMac crossing routes around the Clyde and Hebrides.
It is the first ship built at the yard since Clyde Blowers billionaire Jim McColl took over Ferguson shipyard in September 2014.
The previous two hybrid vessels were also built at the site before the previous owners entered administration.
The ferry can carry 150 passengers, 23 cars or two HGVs and is the third ferry built for the fleet to rely on a low-carbon hybrid system of traditional diesel power and electric lithium-ion battery power.
Sister ship the MV Hallaig was the first in the world to incorporate the technology in a sea-going vessel when launched in December 2011.
The system is said to reduce fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and noise. The ferries are charged overnight while they are moored.
Erik Ostergaard, chairman of ferry owners Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL), said: "We are very proud that the design and construction of this new class of ferry, using world-class technology, was carried out in Scotland, continuing a proud tradition of shipbuilding on the Clyde.
``The launch of our three hybrid ferries - MV Hallaig, MV Lochinvar and MV Catriona - demonstrates CMAL's commitment to leading the way in innovative ferry design and our focus on creating new vessel technology.
"The technology is cleaner, quieter and cheaper to operate and maintain than ever before. Their introduction to our fleet demonstrates the vast economic potential of developing green technology within the transport industry.''
Earlier this year, Scottish ministers named Ferguson shipyard as the preferred bidder for a £97 million contract for the biggest new ferries to be built on the Clyde since 2001.
The company said it could secure more than 150 jobs.
As the 43.5m-MV Catriona was launched on Friday, Ferguson Marine managing director Liam Campbell said: "We would like to acknowledge our appreciation to both CMAL and the Scottish Government for placing the order for the latest hybrid vessels last September.
"The build of MV Catriona was a welcome boost to us and, indeed, the Inverclyde community.''
Transport minister Derek Mackay said: "Delivery of this third hybrid vessel not only underlines the Scottish Government's commitment to making our ferry fleet sustainable and reliable, but it also showcases the expertise on offer at the Ferguson shipyard.
"The technology used on the new vessel will mean it will be fuel efficient and have lower maintenance costs whilst still ensuring a quality service for passengers.''