FERGUSON’S shipyard is involved in a major engineering operation this weekend to install Chinese-made equipment for the UK’s first ferry to use environmentally friendly fuel.

Glen Sannox, due to be launched from the Port Glasgow yard this autumn, will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) to reduce emissions.

An 88-tonne LNG tank was delivered to the yard today after an eight week journey from Shanghai through the Suez Canel to Antwerp, where it was transferred to a barge, Eastern Vanquish, which completed the final leg to the Clyde.

The unloading operation involved 20 specialised personnel and equipment to raise the tank off the barge at the quayside using a 750-tonne heavy lift crane.

It will be moved gradually along the quay before being lifted into the Glen Sannox tomorrow.

The pressurised tank has double-skinned stainless steel and perlite insulation, and is the single largest component needed for Glen Sannox and a sister ferry being built alongside at the yard.

Measuring 20 metres long, 4.2m wide and 4.5m high, the tank can take 141 cubic metres of LNG — equivalent to six days of power for the dual-fuel ships, which can also use marine gas oil.

They are being built for Port Glasgow-based Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL), which owns the vessels and piers used by CalMac.

Ferguson Marine head of procurement, Ian Kelso, described the lift operation as ‘extremely complex’.

Mr Kelso said: “Spreader pads had to be put down on the quayside to even the weight. The tank has to be lifted over Glen Sannox’s bow and moved along the deck into its final position.”

CMAL projects director, Andy Crossan, said it was a highly challenging engineering process.

He said: “Our team, working with our partners and suppliers, has been involved in planning the tank’s transport and delivery logistics for the past two months, and it’s fantastic to see its arrival.

“The tank is hugely impressive. Its arrival reminds us of the scale of the project we’re delivering.”

Mr Crossan added: “The design and build of these dual fuel vessels is a highly complex technical project, the first of its kind in the UK.

“It’s a sign of our commitment to exploring new technologies for ferries, as well as a wider commitment to innovation in Scotland and consideration for the environmental impact of transport.”

The 102-metre new ferries will be used on the CalMac Arran and Skye ‘triangle’ routes.

The first ferry is expected to enter service in the second half of next year, and the second a few months later.