MSP questions government on new Island ferries

Alasdair Allan MSP said: 'The delays to the delivery of these vessels have been unacceptable."
Alasdair Allan MSP said: 'The delays to the delivery of these vessels have been unacceptable."

Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan has questioned Economy Secretary Derek Mackay on the delivery of the ferries under construction at the Ferguson Marine shipyard in Port Glasgow.

The Cabinet Secretary gave an update to Parliament today on the shipyard, where two new duel-fuel ferries are under construction for CalMac.

The yard was officially taken into public ownership earlier this month following the company previously operating the yard, Ferguson Marine Engineering, going into administration.

The statement follows the publication of a report on the update costs and programme for the vessels.

The estimated delivery window for the first vessel MV Glen Sannox, which will operate on the Ardrossan to Brodick route, is October to December 2021.

The estimated window of delivery for vessel number 802, earmarked for the Uig-Lochmaddy and Uig-Tarbert routes, is July to October 2022.

Alasdair Allan MSP said: “The delays to the delivery of these vessels have been unacceptable. As I said in Parliament earlier today, it is vitally important to my constituents in Harris and Uist that vessel 802 in particular enters into service as soon as possible and relieves pressure on an ageing fleet.

“Without the Scottish Government stepping in to purchase Ferguson Marine, and bring it under public ownership, there would be no obvious means of ensuring completion of the new ferries.

“The Tories have let their ideology trump the needs of our island communities by continuing their opposition to this move.

“The recently-published report on the costs and proposals around these vessels lays out in some detail the how the previous failings in management have caused such significant delays.

“I hope vital lessons will be learned from this and that we get the building of these vessels back on track and delivered as soon as possible.”