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The epically-delayed ferry MV Glen Sannox has hit a fresh hurdle that will push back its launch date even further.

Delays in the supply of specialist LNG pipework to the Ferguson Marine shipyard mean the vessel will not be finished until late May. It will then undergo several weeks of sea trials before entering service.

The knock-on effect is that the shipyard has pushed back the launch of the sister ferry, MV Glen Rosa, by a month to focus on the Glen Sannox.

Both ferries have been beset by a catalogue of setbacks at Port Glasgow after being originally scheduled for delivery in 2018.

The two ferries – one of which was originally intended for the Uig Triangle route – are destined to be a tag team on the Adrossan-Brodick ferry route and as relief vessels across the network.

They have been designed with dual-fuel engines that run on LNG (liquefied natural gas) and conventional marine diesel, making them the first LNG-fuel vessels built in the UK.

However, the LNG must be stored between -160 and -170 Centigrade, requiring specialist pipework.

In an update to Holyrood's net zero, energy and transport committee, Ferguson Marine explained the pipework was due to be delivered last year. After a further delay, the shipyard hired an alternative UK-based company, which arrived on site in January.

Installation of the pipework should be finished by mid-March, but the Finnish engine supplier will then begin commissioning and testing for over two months.

Though Glen Sannox was now to be completed in late May, Ferguson Marine warned of the possibility of further holdups and cost overruns.

MV Glen Rosa, the second ferry being built at the shipyard, is now expected to go down the slip on Tuesday, April 9.

The ships are designed to carry 127 cars, 16 HGVs, or a combination of both.


Image credit: CMAL