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Ferguson Launches Ill-Starred CalMac Ferry Six Years Late

Glen Rosa
Courtesy Ferguson Marine

Published Apr 10, 2024 5:30 PM by The Maritime Executive

Scottish shipbuilder Ferguson Marine is hoping for an end to sustained criticism over its handling of the CalMac ferry project following the launch of the much delayed MV Glen Rosa on the River Clyde.

The shipbuilder has faced constant scrutiny over the building of Glen Rosa and her sister vessel Glen Sannox for Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CalMac) to service the Arran route. Both ferries are some six years late and will cost around three times the original price of £97 million ($123 million).

On Tuesday, Glen Rosa launched on the Clyde after her formal christening (with blended scotch rather than champagne). John Petticrew, Ferguson Marine interim CEO, called it a “landmark moment” for the shipyard.

“Today marks a significant milestone in the delivery of the two new ferries, following the success of MV Glen Sannox’s sea trials in February and last week. This demonstrates the hard work being done by everyone at the yard to complete both ferries as soon as possible,” said interim CEO Petticrew in a statement. 

The Scottish government-owned yard removed CEO David Tydeman last month, drawing further criticism from the opposition and incredulity from the yard's employees. "Out of six or seven CEOs we have had, David has been the best of them," union co-leader John McMunagle told BBC. 

Previously known as Hull 802, Glen Rosa is a 102-meter dual fuel vessel that will be capable of operating on liquefied natural gas and marine gas oil. It will have a capacity to carry up to 852 passengers plus at least 127 cars or 16 trucks when it is completed. 

The ferry, which was originally expected to be launched in 2018 and to enter service in 2019, will now take her place at the quayside recently vacated by Glen Sannox for her internal fit out.

The vessel’s name was selected through a public poll carried out last August, one of the three names shortlisted with the other two being Claymore and Glen Cloy. Glen Rosa was selected by 52 percent out of a total vote of nearly 5,000 entries. The ferry will serve Arran on the Ardrossan to Brodick route.

Glen Rosa is the 363rd vessel launched on the Clyde under the Ferguson Marine name. At around 3,000 tons, she is considerably heavier than her sister vessel was at launch and sets a new record for the yard in terms of weight at launch. She is also the last complete vessel on Ferguson's orderbook: the yard's only firm orders going forward are for hull sections, to be built under subcontract for another shipbuilder.