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Cheers as MV Glen Rosa ferry finally launched in Port Glasgow

Simon Calder’s Travel

One of the two late and over-budget ferries has finally been launched at a shipyard on the River Clyde.

There were cheers from those watching as the MV Glen Rosa was piped into the water at the publicly-owned Ferguson Marine shipyard in Port Glasgow on Tuesday.

The ferry and its sister vessel the Glen Sannox are now some six years late and will cost around three times the original price of £97 million.

MV Glen Rosa, previously known as Hull 802, is a 102-metre dual fuel vessel which will be capable of operating on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and marine gas oil (MGO).

When complete, it will have the capacity to carry up to 852 passengers plus at least 127 cars or 16 heavy goods vehicles, or a combination of both.

It is due to be delivered by September 2025 and will serve Arran on the Ardrossan to Brodick route.

The former head of the shipyard, David Tydeman, was sacked last month over “performance-related issues”, as further delays to the ferries were expected.

The GMB Scotland union said the launch of the Glen Rosa must herald a new era for Ferguson Marine.

Gary Cook, GMB Scotland senior organiser in engineering, said: “The sight of such a ship being launched into the Clyde is a too rare reminder of this river’s proud shipbuilding heritage.

“This yard and these workers can help ensure that heritage is protected for future generations of shipbuilders but only with the support of ministers.

“No one, apart from the islanders, wanted these ferries finished more than the workforce, who have been blameless in this sorry process but been used as a political punchbag for far too long.”

He also called for the contract for seven small ferries for CalMac to be awarded to the yard urgently to give certainty to the workforce and protect the skills at the yard.

Mr Cook said: “The Scottish Government must commit to building the small ferries at Fergusons to create a pipeline of work that will ensure shipbuilding on the Clyde continues for generations to come.”

Beth Atkinson, a qualified welder who completed her apprenticeship at the yard, smashed a special bottling of Ardgowan blended malt whisky off the hull to launch the ferry.

John Petticrew, the shipyard’s interim chief executive, said: “This is a proud day for the shipyard, the people of Inverclyde and every individual who has supported Ferguson Marine reach this landmark…

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