Ferry’s dual-fuel system may not be ready for handover, says shipyard boss

John Petticrew of Ferguson Marine said there will be ‘challenges’ in finishing the system on Glen Sannox for May 31.

Glen Sannox’s dual-fuel system may not be ready for handover, says new shipyard boss STV News

Part of the dual-fuel system on the overdue ferry Glen Sannox may not be ready for the planned handover date, a shipyard boss has indicated.

Ferry’s dual-fuel system may not be ready for handover, new shipyard boss says

New Ferguson Marine chief executive officer John Petticrew, whose predecessor David Tydeman was sacked by the state-owned shipyard’s board earlier this week, told MSPs there will be “challenges” in completing the liquefied natural gas (LNG) system by May 31.

The Glen Sannox and its sister ship were designed to run on both traditional marine gas oil and LNG, which is much greener.

While LNG has previously been used in ship propulsion, the two Calmac ferries at Port Glasgow are the first to be built in the UK which have a dual-fuel system.

Ferguson Marine has faced difficulties in sourcing parts for the LNG system but in February Mr Tydeman told MSPs a contractor had been brought on board and the work was due to be completed by the end of March.

Glen Sannox successfully completed its first sea trials in February but these were only using marine gas oil.

Mr Petticrew wrote to Holyrood’s Transport committee, providing a brief update and promising more information in April.

He said: “As you are aware I have just taken up post this week. There undoubtedly are some challenges regarding the completion of the LNG system by May 31.”

Last year, the then-wellbeing economy secretary Neil Gray said the Government was “continuing to ensure that we have a dual-fuel approach to the vessels and that they arrive as timeously as possible”.

Mr Tydeman’s contract was terminated after he indicated further delays to the Glen Sannox were “likely”.

On Wednesday, current wellbeing economy secretary Mairi McAllan said she did not yet have sufficient detail on the latest delays.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said on Friday: “The FMPG (Ferguson Marine Port Glasgow) board will scrutinise the handover date for Glen Sannox and the interim CEO has indicated he will provide a fuller update to parliamentary committees next month.

“The wellbeing economy secretary will be stressing to the interim CEO and the board the importance of the ferries entering service to island communities as soon as possible, and that any further delays must be kept to an absolute minimum.”

The two ferries, which will ultimately serve routes in the west of Scotland with CalMac, are some six years late and will cost around three times the original price of £97 million.

Scottish Conservative shadow transport spokesman Graham Simpson said: “Challenges with the LNG system have been known about for some time.

“David Tydeman didn’t design the ferries so he can hardly be blamed for problems which have arisen as a result.

“SNP ministers have put their faith in LNG without admitting that it belches out methane, which is a greenhouse gas.

“No-one wants more delays but we need to know what the latest delay is and if is extra cost how much it is.

“Mairi McAllan was shifty in the extreme when asked these key questions this week.”

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