MV Hebrides

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MV Hebrides at Tarbert, Harris
MV Hebrides at Tarbert, Harris
Career (UK) Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Name: MV Hebrides
Operator: Caledonian MacBrayne
Port of registry: Glasgow
Builder: Ferguson Shipbuilders, Port Glasgow
Launched: 2000 by HM the Queen
Maiden voyage: 24 March 2001
Identification: IMO number: 9211975[1]

Callsign: ZQYC3

MMSI Number: 235000864
Status: in service
General characteristics
Tonnage: 5,506
Length: 99 metres (325 ft)
Beam: 15.8 metres (51.8 ft)
Draft: 3.22 metres (10.6 ft)

2 x MAK 8 M32, Gear Box: 2 - Ulstein 1500 AGSC

Bow Thruster: 2 x Electric Ulstein 90TV each 7.0 tonnes (69 kN) thrust
Speed: 16.5 knots (31 km/h) (service)
Capacity: 612, 90 cars
Crew: 34
Notes: [2]

MV Hebrides is a ferry operated by Caledonian MacBrayne from Uig on the west coast of Scotland.


The present MV Hebrides is the third vessel of the name in the CalMac fleet over the years. She carries the bell of the first Hebrides (1898) which also graced the second "Heb" (1964). The 1964 ship being MacBrayne's first car ferry and very much a favourite, which for twenty years, also sailed from Uig, Skye.[3]

Following successful sea trials on the Clyde in early 2001, the Hebrides made her way round to Uig, Tarbert and Lochmaddy, where she conducted berthing trials at the three linkspans. Uig and Tarbert piers had to be specially extended to accommodate this new giant. On entry into service on 24 March 2001 she displaced the MV Hebridean Isles to Islay.[3] Her service speed is 16.5 knots (31 km/h), which cuts the crossing times to around 100 minutes and allows three return trips per day.[4]

There were no Sunday sailings to or from Tarbert, so the Hebrides concentrated on serving Lochmaddy on North Uist. The ratio of crossings is something like 2:1 in favour of North Uist. Having the MV Isle of Lewis at Stornoway (serving Lewis and Harris), and in 2003 the introduction of the new MV Loch Portain (making inter-island access easier) have encouraged this trend.[4]

The Hebrides revived a traditional name on the "Uig triangle" and brought with her the highest level of passenger comfort ever seen in the fleet. Despite a passenger certificate for around 600, she never feels crowded. Only at peak times does she need to use her mezzanine car deck for extra cars. With a ship of this size on permanent station at Uig, future increases in demand can be met for many years.[4]


MV Hebrides' design is very similar to that of her half-sister, MV Clansman of 1998. There is an increased amount of open deck space, the majority of it being covered. She was the first vessel of the fleet to be equipped with a Marine Evacuation System of inflatable chutes leading to large liferafts in place of conventional lifeboats. Following simulations and the success of the Clansman’s design, her hull incorporates fewer gaps for water to escape from the car deck.[4]

The Hebrides loads vehicles via a stern ramp at Uig and through her bow at the two Outer Isles ports. Like the Clansman, she has an open stern, allowing her to carry hazardous goods whilst still carrying foot passengers. The car deck has room for approximately 80 cars. A mezzanine deck on the starboard side which can be raised or lowered to allow loading of eighteen more cars.

The entrance lobby has the shop and information desk. Forward are a lounge and Eiders Restaurant at the bow. Aft is the Chieftain Bar and open deck area. On the deck above are an observation lounge at the bow, crew accommodation and further open deck.[4]


MV Hebrides has rarely deviated from the Little Minch, sailing from Uig on Skye to Tarbert and Lochmaddy. One notable exception was during closure of the Uig linkspan, when she sailed from Ullapool for a period of a week or so. At the time she was in company with MV Clansman which was relieving on the Ullapool crossing.

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  1. "Ships Index: H5". World Shipping Register. Retrieved 4 October 2009. 
  2. "MV Hebrides". Ships of CalMac. Retrieved 30 August 2007. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 McCrorie, Ian. CalMac Ferries. CalMac. ISBN 0950716677. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "History of MV Hebrides". Ships of Calmac. Retrieved 26 August 2007. 

See also