Former Rothesay ferry heading for Orkney

MV Saturn has been sold to Orkney-based firm Pentland Ferries Ltd.
MV Saturn has been sold to Orkney-based firm Pentland Ferries Ltd.

The former Rothesay ferry MV Saturn is to be sold to an Orkney-based operator for freight work.

Pentland Ferries Ltd, based at St Margaret’s Hope, is to use the vessel for freight duties and working with the renewable energy sector around Orkney and the Pentland Firth.

MV Saturn, which entered service in 1978, was retired from the CalMac fleet in September 2011 and has been laid up at Rosneath since then.

Tom Docherty, chief executive of Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited, the ship’s owners, said: “The MV Saturn is the last in the line of Clyde streakers and spent most of her time on the Wemyss Bay to Rothesay service on the Clyde during her 33 years of service.

“We are delighted that she is to be refurbished and able to carry on sailing in the north of Scotland and we wish her new owner’s years of continued service.”

The vessel is in possession of a ‘Green Passport’ issued by Lloyd’s Register, which contains an inventory of the materials it is constructed from and the materials it has on-board as part of its outfit.

CMAL’s announcement of the sale on Monday stated that Pentland Ferries “will follow the DEFRA ship recycling strategy when the vessel is eventually disposed of”.

The news scuppers the hopes of an enthusiast group that the ferry could be preserved as a static exhibition piece - while it also looks likely to mean that a request by Bute Community Council to save artefacts from the ship will be turned down.

Pentland Ferries currently operates a passenger and vehicle ferry between St Margaret’s Hope and Gills Bay near John o’ Groats using the catamaran Pentalina, although the firm has owned and operated two former CalMac ferries in the past - MV Iona (renamed Pentalina B after her purchase by the company) and MV Claymore.