Delayed CalMac ferry MV Glen Sannox reaches 'major milestone'

The ferries are now four years late and around £97m over budget, but are on track to enter service next year.

Delayed CalMac ferry MV Glen Sannox reaches ‘major milestone’ in latest stage of construction Steve McIntosh Drone Services
Delays: The MV Glen Sannox is one of two ferries due to enter service next year.

A delayed CalMac ferry at the centre of a Scottish government row has reached a “major milestone” after setting sail to a dry dock on the River Clyde.

The MV Glen Sannox is one of two vessels due to be completed at Ferguson Marine shipyard by 2018, but has since been pushed back to 2023.

The boat will have the “finishing touches” applied to its internal systems and receive a fresh coat of paint to its hull during the three-week stay at Dales Marine in Greenock.

Essential work on propulsion systems, seals and bow doors will also be completed following initial tests of an emergency diesel generator onboard earlier this week.

The boat is due to enter service between March and May next year.

David Tydeman, chief executive at FMPG, said: “The work being undertaken in collaboration with Dale’s is another important milestone in the delivery of MV Glen Sannox. 

“The sub-waterline and aesthetic works being undertaken show that the ferry is coming along well, and we look forward to welcoming her back to Port Glasgow in August for a continuation of the commissioning programme.

“Our next major milestone is the testing of main engines and generators before October, which will bring the ship to life.”

Construction of the ferries has been plagued by setbacks since first being ordered in 2015.

They are now four years late and estimated to cost at least £240m – around £97m over budget.

The ferries have also been at the centre of a political storm, with the yard having been taken over by the Scottish Government in 2019.

In March, Audit Scotland concluded there had been a “multitude of failings” in the delivery of the two vessels and that there were “significant operational failures” still needing to be resolved.

The second vessel, the as-yet-unnamed hull 802, is set to enter service between October and December next year.