THE HARBOURS of Troon and Ayr have welcomed the new Scottish-built pilot vessel.

With the naming ceremony of ‘Scotia’ taking place at the Port of Troon, the £700,000 vessel will be replacing ABP’s long-serving vessel ‘The Lady Kyle’ after 25 years of service.

‘Scotia’ is the latest in a series of investments by ABP, designed to improve “capability and customer service” at its Scottish facilities and she will further enhance the ports’ ability to handle vessels in all weather conditions.

Set to become a familiar sight around the region’s coasts, ‘Scotia’ will also perform general harbour duties, helping customers and vessels outside of the port’s boundaries along the Scottish West Coast.

The new vessel is a significant upgrade, with two modern, cleaner engines, double the horsepower and a full Man Overboard recovery system.

She was launched by the Eileen Howat, chief executive of South Ayrshire Council.

She said: “I’m proud to have been asked to play a part in today’s launch, with the Scotia set to become a familiar sight off our coast.

“ABP remains an important local employer and the launch of this new vessel marks a significant investment to bolster its operations in Troon.

“We’re pleased to see the company dedicate fresh resources to help attract new business and bolster the wider South Ayrshire economy.”

Stuart Cresswell, Port Manager, Ayr and Troon, added: “This is an investment not just in increased capability at our Scottish ports but in local skills, technology and know-how. We are proud to be launching a Scottish built vessel to ensure our customers receive enhanced levels of service for many years to come.

“This brand-new vessel has been specifically designed, with close collaboration between ABP’s marine team and MacDuff, to deliver both pilotage services and assist the berthing of larger vessels in poor weather conditions, whilst also providing a comfortable and safe environment for our marine pilots.

“We hope that her arrival will help cement both Ayr and Troon’s status as primary hubs for trade in the West of Scotland.”