Scottish yard criticised for overdue over budget duel-fuel ferries

17 January 2020

Ferguson Marine management has been sharply criticised for the delay and spiralling cost of two new 102m duel-fuel CalMac ferries for island communities, by the government agency that placed the orders.

CEO of Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) Kevin Hobbs has rejected calls for the unfinished ferries to be scrapped and the work restarted.

The ferries are £100m over budget and likely to be three years overdue.

The Glasgow based yard won the £97m contract in 2015, to build, for the first time in Scotland, two 1,000-passenger, 127-cars and 16-lorry marine diesel oil/LNG powered ferries earmarked to serve Arran and the Hebrides and usher in a new era of shipbuilding on the Clyde.

Construction fell way behind schedule. The Glen Sannox, destined for the Arran route was expected to enter service mid-2018 but delivery is now expected by the end of 2021. The second ferry, for the Skye, Harris and North Uist route, is not expected to enter service until summer 2022.

Last August, the yard collapsed owing more than £49m to the Scottish government that subsequently took it into public ownership. In December it was revealed that the final bill for the two ships was likely to be close to £200m.

The average 22-year age of CalMac's ferry fleet and increasing cancellations is affecting many islanders in Scotland. CMAL wants to see six major vessels and eight to 10 smaller vessels built for CalMac over the next decade, a move that would require an investment of about £500m.