A FERRY set to serve two Scottish islands has been successfully launched in Turkey.

The MV Isle of Islay is the first of two vessels set to serve Islay and Jura and one of four ferries being built for Scotland at the Cemre Marin Endustri shipyard in Yalova, Turkey.

Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) – the public company which owns Scotland’s vital ferry services – said the launch marked a significant milestone and displayed its commitment to delivering new ferries to serve island communities.

CMAL representatives were in attendance at the shipyard with chair Morag McNeill officially launching the ferry.

It is scheduled for delivery in Scotland in October, with the vessel having the capacity for up to 450 passengers and 100 cars.

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The new vessel will provide a combined 40% increase in vehicle and freight capacity on the Islay routes.

"The successful launch of the MV Isle of Islay marks a major milestone in the vessel’s construction,” said CMAL CEO Kevin Hobbs.

“It’s wonderful to see her in the water. We look forward to marking the official naming of the ferry, MV Isle of Islay, at the event later this year as we welcome her to Scottish waters.”

Work will continue onboard the vessel while it is in the water, before it undergoes sea trials and is handed over to the owners, CMAL.

Crew familiarisation and local operational trials will then take place upon her arrival from Turkey, before the MV Isle of Islay enters service.

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An official naming ceremony will take place on Islay towards the end of the year, where community representatives and stakeholders will be invited to board and tour the vessel to celebrate its arrival before it officially joins the fleet.

Transport Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “I’m delighted to see MV Isle of Islay enter the water and look forward to her arrival in Scotland later this year.

“I know she will be warmly welcomed by the communities she will serve.

“This is another important milestone reached in the Scottish Government’s commitment to deliver six new major vessels to serve the Clyde and Hebrides network by 2026.

“With MV Isle of Islay progressing towards delivery in October, and her sister ship MV Loch Indaal following soon after, ferry users can anticipate more reliable and resilient services with increased capacity for the Islay routes from 2025.

“I look forward to seeing these and more new vessels being added to the fleet in the coming years and bringing improvements for island communities across the Clyde and Hebrides network.”