The Scottish Government has nationalised Ferguson Marine’s boatyard in Port Glasgow, in a bid to save those vessels still on the facility’s order book. As reported in Ship & Boat International July/August 2016 (page 58), the yard was (perhaps most notably) working on what had been billed as the UK’s first LNG-powered, dual-fuel ro-pax ferry duo on behalf of operator customer Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL). However, cited ‘technical challenges’ in early 2018 led to both vessels being delayed well beyond their initially agreed handover dates, even though the first of the pair, MV Glen Sannox (pictured), was launched by Ferguson in November 2017.
Each vessel was designed and built to accommodate 1,000 passengers and 127 cars / 16 trucks, and to run on a pair of six-cylinder Wärtsilä 34DF dual-fuel main engines, supported by a 149m³-capacity LNG tank. The contract for both vessels was valued at £97 million (US$125 million).
Speaking earlier this month, Derek Mackay, economy secretary for Scotland, stressed that the dual-fuel ferries have not been forgotten. “We are now working to put in place a management team which will refocus all efforts on completing this vital government contract,” he said. “It is absolutely essential that the outstanding contracts to build these two ferries are completed, in order to sustain the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services network and provide vital support for the economies of our island communities.” Shortly after issuing this statement, a public sector board held its first meeting, convened by Mackay.
Ferguson Marine was also significantly involved in the Hydrogen & Diesel Injection in a Maritime Environment (HyDIME) project, and had been preparing to install a diesel-hydrogen genset aboard the 35m MV Shapinsay (see Ship & Boat International January/February 2019, pages 16-17).