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by Kirsteen Paterson
09 April 2024
Mairi McAllan vow to shipyard workers as delayed Glen Rosa ferry is launched

Workers at Ferguson Marine | Alamy

Mairi McAllan vow to shipyard workers as delayed Glen Rosa ferry is launched

Mairi McAllan told workers at nationalised shipyard Ferguson Marine that the Scottish Government will "stand with you long into the future" at the launch of a delayed CalMac ferry.

The MV Glen Rosa is the second of two delayed vessels built by the Port Glasgow yard, which was rescued by Holyrood ministers in 2019.

The dual-fuel Glen Rosa and its sister ship, the Glen Sannox, are the first ships of their kind to be built in the UK and run on liquefied natural gas and marine diesel. 

But the builds have been dogged by budget increases and delays and the yard has failed to secure a pipeline of work to carry it into the future.

Today McAllan, who recently took on the brief in a cabinet reshuffle, told workers: "The Scottish Government stands with the workers of Ferguson Marine and the community of Port Glasgow and Inverclyde. We stood behind you at nationalisation, we stand behind you today as your work comes to fruition and we stand with you long into the future."

The two ferries are now six years late, with costs of around £300m far higher than the initial £97m estimate.

The Glen Sannox underwent sea trials earlier this year and its handover is planned for May.

The Glen Rosa, which will serve the west coast for CalMac, was piped into the water by local MSP Stuart McMillan, the official piper of the Scottish Parliament.

The launch came days after David Tydeman, chief executive of Ferguson Marine, was sacked by the board of the state-owned company after telling ministers that further delays are "likely".

Robbie Drummond, chief executive of CalMac, also left his post.

Welder Beth Atkinson, who completed her apprenticeship at the yard, smashed a bottle of whisky to officially name and launch the ferry.

John Petticrew, interim chief executive of Ferguson Marine, told the crowd that Atkinson and her colleagues would "hopefully stay here once we get more work". He said: "The launch of a vessel is always a reason to celebrate, but today feels more significant, given we've all waited for this day."

The 363rd ship to be launched at Fergusons, the Glen Rosa will undergo extensive fitting-out work before its delivery, scheduled for September 2025.

It will have capacity to carry up to 852 passengers and at least 127 cars or 16 heavy goods vehicles.

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