Transport Minister Danny Kennedy has announced that the £2.8million contract to build a replacement car ferry for service between Ballycastle and Rathlin Island has been won by Irish based Arklow Marine Services.
The new vessel, to replace the existing MV Canna, is expected to be in service from the end of the summer next year.
Danny Kennedy said: “Today we see a very significant step forward in delivering a much needed new car ferry for the people of Rathlin Island and indeed for visitors to this unique part of Northern Ireland.
“The new ferry which has been specifically designed to operate on the waters between Ballycastle and Rathlin Island will replace the now 40 year old MV Canna.
“I congratulate Arklow Marine Services on their successful bid in the open competition which attracted interest from shipyards across Europe. I look forward to following the progress of the build.”
The new ferry will have capacity for five cars and up to 140 passengers, improving on the existing service.
Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development Michelle O’Neill has welcomed also the announcement by the Transport Minister.
The Minister congratulates Arklow Marine Services on their successful bid and will keenly follow the progress of their work on the new ferry.
Commenting on the award the Minister said: “The people of Rathlin and visitors to the Island will benefit from the delivery of the new ferry with its increased passenger capacity. This will improve the existing service and is to be welcomed.”
The Minister went on to say: “My officials have been actively engaged with the people of Rathlin in helping them to develop their economic and social infrastructure as a means of providing sustainability in an isolated rural area, and the new ferry is a significant step in this direction.”