Work on four new CalMac vessels being built in Turkey is on schedule and they are all due to be sailing by the end of 2025, officials have said.
Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), the agency which owns the ferries and infrastructure, hailed good progress on the vessels being built at the Cemre shipyard.
It comes amid long delays on two CalMac ferries being built at Ferguson Marine in Port Glasgow, which are well behind schedule and over budget.
On Wednesday, two milestones were reached in the construction in Turkey of vessels pledged for west coast routes.
The keel was laid for the MV Loch Indaal, while steel was cut for an as-yet-unnamed vessel which will serve the Little Minch route.
CMAL said the new vessels will improve transport and freight capacity on the routes.
Jim Anderson, director of vessels at CMAL, added: “Work at Cemre shipyard is progressing well, with the ferries being constructed on time and on budget.
“These key milestones fill us with confidence that we will see all four vessels out on the network by the end of 2025.
“Keel laying for MV Loch Indaal is a significant milestone in the ship’s life,with the first of the many units which will be fabricated and erected during the construction of the vessel.
“Simultaneously, the steel cutting for the first of the Little Minch vessels marked another milestone with the start of the construction of the vessel.
“The new ferries have been designed with carbon reduction in mind and are expected to deliver significant reductions in emissions.”
Transport minister Kevin Stewart said: “I welcome both of these important milestones, as they move us closer to having these new vessels join the fleet to bring welcome additional capacity, reliability and resilience for our island communities.
“We have committed to adding six new major vessels to the fleet by 2026, and I want to continue to see good progress on bringing them into service.
“The Scottish Government shares the desires of island communities for sustainable and effective ferry services and look forward to continuing our constructive engagement with them on future services and vessel replacements.”