Further costs and delays for overdue and over-budget Ferguson ferries

Under the latest estimates, the work to build the two ferries will be around triple the first price of £97m.

Costs for two overdue and over budget ferries in Scotland have risen once again, it has emerged.

Ferguson Marine boss David Tydeman appeared before Holyrood’s Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee on Tuesday advising members that costs for the Glen Sannox will rise to between £145.5m and £149.1m, while the Glen Rosa will be delivered “no later than” September 2025.

Under the latest estimates, the work to build the two ferries will be around triple the first price of £97m and will be handed over to CalMac six years late.

Committee convener Conservative MSP Edward Mountain expressed his dismay at the problems with the delayed and over budget Ferguson Marine ferries, telling the shipyard’s bosses there will be “angst” among islanders.

He also condemned “smoke and mirrors” over design changes in the Glen Sannox and its sister ship the Glen Rosa, which will mean they will carry fewer passengers than originally envisaged.

Mr Mountain said that since CalMac’s crew will require time to familiarise themselves with the vessel, it is likely the Glen Sannox will begin carrying passengers on the Arran route in August at the earliest – meaning it will miss most of the busy summer period.

He raised the issue of changes in the vessels’ designs in order to meet regulatory requirements, saying: “I think there was a certain amount of smoke and mirrors in that and I think that was extremely disappointing.”

He quizzed Mr Tydeman about the exact capacity of the Glen Sannox for cars, HGVs and passengers.

The shipyard boss said the ferry will ultimately operate with up to 852 passengers.

Mr Mountain went on to say: “We’re in a situation now where we’ve got ourselves, it’s taken considerably longer, considerably more money. And we have less passengers, potentially less cars and potentially less HGVs.

“If I was an islander I would be pretty angst by that.”

Mr Tydeman said he understood the comment about islanders’ feelings, saying the capacity for cars and lorries depends on how the 102-metre ship’s decks are configured for any journey.

He said the Glen Sannox, including its liquefied natural gas system, should be largely finished by the end of March.

Both ferries are designed to be “dual fuel”, running on LNG and traditional bunker fuel, but LNG pipework is yet to be completed.

Mr Tydeman praised “overwhelmingly positive” sea trials of Glen Sannox which took place earlier this month.

He told the committee: “I can really confirm that the Glen Sannox is a smooth and quiet ship.

“I wasn’t on board myself, regrettably, I’ll try and be on some of the other trials.

“But I think this is a ship that we’re all going to be proud of.”

Meanwhile Andrew Miller, who is the shipyard’s chairman, said it will be harder to return the business to the private sector without investment in a new automated plating line.

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