CANNA was the 7th of 8 island class vehicle and passenger ferries built to operate lifeline services to the Hebrides for Caledonian MacBrayne. The island class design was by Burness Corlett, and based on that of a military landing craft. The vessels are notable for lowering their ramps whilst still approaching the slipway. This is to avoid grounding the shallow-draughted vessel and is possible due to the 2-stage folding action of the ramp itself. When the ramp is deployed only the rearmost section lowers until it contacts the slipway. The front section of the ramp then unfolds allowing vehicles and passengers to disembark.
Prior to entering service between Ballycastle and Rathlin Island, CANNA had a varied career in Scottish waters. She replaced her sister ship BRUERNISH on the Rathlin Island route in April 1997.
In 2017 CANNA was replaced by the purpose-built SPIRIT OF RATHLIN after almost 20 years of unbroken service to Rathlin Island. She is believed to have been sold to one of the ferry operators which operate to Arranmore Island, Co. Donegal, and was pictured at Burtonport during April 2018 undergoing repairs. Former CalMac fleetmates and fellow Island Class ferries RHUM, COLL, and BRUERNISH (which received new Daewoo engines after leaving the CalMac fleet in 2006) also operate the Burtonport to Leabgarrow (Arranmore Island) service.
Title image: Courtesy of the Department for Infrastructure (DFI).
James Lamont & Co. Ltd., Port Glasgow (Castle yard)
31st October 1975
Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd
|Operator (before leaving NI)|
Rathlin Island Ferry (since 1st July 2008)
|In service (original)|
29th January 1978
|In service (Rathlin Island)|
22nd April 1997 (for Caledonian MacBrayne)
|Call sign (Rathlin Island)|
|Machinery (as built)|
|Max operational speed (current)|
|Vehicle deck configuration|
Bow loading landing craft (vehicles reverse onto or off the vessel from the slipway).
|Onboard Facilities in use|
|Flag (Rathlin Island service)|
With thanks to Gary Andrews, Scott Mackey, and Norman Martin (from the Scottish Maritime Facebook group) for their contributions.