After several false starts, the launch date for MV Glen Sannox has finally been fixed for November 21. A CRSC exclusive.
Sources at Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL), which commissioned the new 100-metre Arran ferry, say the choice of Tuesday 21 November — later than previously expected — will allow for more extensive fitting-out of the vessel on the launching berth at Port Glasgow, where she is being built by Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd.
A formal announcement is not expected until next week, but by fixing the date more than two months in advance, CMAL and Ferguson Marine have increased the likelihood that the launch will get the high public profile it deserves. There are hopes that Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, will attend the ceremony. CMAL sources said “everything is possible if it fits in with her diary.”
Speculation about the vessel’s launch has been mounting in shipping and enthusiast circles throughout the summer, and until this week a date in late September was being widely touted. But as the bow took shape in full public view over the past fortnight, with no announcement from the shipyard, a September launch looked increasingly unlikely.
“We didn’t want to rush it just to get the vessel into the water,” a highly placed source at CMAL told CRSC last night. “Better to plan it further ahead than jump the gun.”
Another factor complicating plans was the suitability of tides, which limit the options every month.
The launch ceremony is expected to be open to the public.
Glen Sannox will be the first ‘dual fuel’ ship in the CalMac fleet. She and a sister ship, which is also under construction at the Port Glasgow yard (and earmarked for the Uig triangle), will be capable of operating on conventional marine diesel or Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).
They will be far ‘greener’ than the vessels they are destined to replace, having more efficient engines. They will each have three 800Kw bow thrusters and an 800Kw stern thruster. Their capacity will be for 127 cars and 1,000 passengers, 700 of which should be comfortably seated inside. There will be no open viewing space for passengers in front of the bridge.
The name Glen Sannox has a long and distinguished pedigree on the Ardrossan-Brodick run: previous holders of the name were a majestic paddler (1892), a 21-knot turbine (1925) and a much-loved car ferry (1957). Owned by CMAL on behalf of the Scottish Government, the new Glen Sannox will be operated by CalMac Ferries Ltd.
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