A CALMAC ship which will one day take passengers to and from Arran has successfully completed her first phase of sea trials.

The Glen Sannox, one of the delayed ferries built at Ferguson Marine, left the Port Glasgow shipyard earlier this week.

Known as "builder’s sea trials", this phase of testing has focused on establishing the capabilities of the vessel’s propulsion, automation, power generation and navigational systems.

From Tuesday to Friday this week, the vessel undertook a strict test regime which was overseen by Lloyds Register designed to evaluate her performance and manoeuvring capabilities as well as speed, stability and efficiency.

Systems tested so far include the main engines, generators, thrusters, engines full astern/fast stops and communications.

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Her trial journeys took her as far as the lower Clyde between the Isle of Bute and Largs and saw her achieve a maximum speed of 16.7 knots SOG (speed over ground), confirming she can operate at her planned speed of 14.5 knots.

David Tydeman, chief executive at Ferguson Marine (Port Glasgow), said: “The results of this first phase of trials have been overwhelmingly positive, clearly demonstrating the advanced technology which MV Glen Sannox will bring to the CalMac fleet.

“Next steps for the vessel will be a return to the Ferguson Marine quayside, where she will undergo further outfitting and LNG [liquified natural gas] system work before a trip to the dry dock in early April.

“After that will come what’s known as owner’s sea trials with CMAL as representatives for Scottish Ministers on board. In April and May, she will also undergo endurance tests when she will operate at higher speeds for longer periods of time.”

Costs for Glen Sannox and her sister ship Glen Rosa have more than tripled to at least £360 million and they are expected to be delivered around six years late.

It remains unclear when Glen Sannox will be handed over to its owners, as earlier this month Tydeman said there had been delays in installing parts of the ship’s LNG system.

Both ships were designed to be “dual fuel” – running on LNG and traditional bunker fuel in order to keep emissions down – but Tydeman told MSPs the delays had forced the shipyard to bring in an alternative supplier.

The Scottish Government has previously said all systems – including the LNG propulsion – will need to be completed before the ferry-owning agency CMAL (Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd) can take delivery.