Shipping & Shipbuilding News - 1 April 2007 - The Brightest Maritime Daily
 

End of an era on the Clyde ferry scene
All change as new ferry starts operations


It will be all change on a long established ferry route on the Clyde as of tomorrow 2nd April when the brand new mv SEABUS takes over from the venerable KENILWORTH on the Gourock-Kilcreggan-Helensburgh service.

A sad day perhaps for fans of the 71 year old veteran who has faithfully and at times impressively battled her way across the Firth of Clyde clocking up the equivalent of 30 times around the world's equator and carrying 2.1 million passengers.

Formerly the Southampton-Hythe ferry HOTSPUR II, the old lady was built in 1936 by Rowhedge Ironworks Company, Colchester. She was taken to the Clyde by her operators Clyde Marine of Greenock in 1979 and began operating on the service she was to perform until today, 28 years later almost exactly to the day.

Recently she hit the headlines (and caused much mirth locally) when in October of last year she was challenged by a US warship as she made her stoic way across the Firth of Clyde!

Tomorrow the mv SEABUS will provide passengers with a greater degree of comfort and safety as well as better facilities for people with mobility problems. Larger, roomier and more comfortable, the vessel will no doubt prove popular but enthusiasts are sad to see the end of an era on the Clyde as their old girl retires to gentler tasks. Shipping Times believes she will be retained by Clyde Marine, who called the ship at a naming ceremony on Friday "part of the family".

SPT Chair Councillor Alistair Watson and Captain Archie Munro, Managing Director of Clyde Marine Services Ltd named the vessel at a short ceremony held on 30th March at Kilcreggan Pier.

At the ceremony SPT Chair Councillor Alistair Watson said: “We’re constantly working with partner organisations to improve public transport links across the west of Scotland and today we see tangible evidence of the success of this policy.

“I am delighted that by working in partnership with Clyde Marine, we’re able to deliver improved levels of customer service for passengers on this vital Clyde crossing.”

Captain Archie Munro said:”Our investment in this new vessel is clear evidence of our faith in the improvement and development of passenger ferries in the Clyde area.

“The Seabus been built to the latest EU Directives and we are confident she will provide a greatly improved travel experience for all users of the Gourock-Kilcreggan-Helensburgh service.”

Amongst the guests was the Shipping Times editor who experienced the spaciousness and comfort of the vessel and remarked, "It will be sad to see KENILWORTH end her days as 'the Kilcreggan ferry', but this new vessel built by Voyager Boatyard, Millbrook, near Plymouth is a welcome new addition to the busy ferry scene on the Clyde. This new vessel means more and more people can experience the fantastic value offered by SPT and Clyde Marine for travellers and tourists alike."

Pictures taken by the Shipping Times editor show the old and the new on Friday.





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