The latest delays to the overdue Ferguson Marine ferries are an “absolute disgrace”, a campaigner from an island community group has said.
On Thursday, it emerged that the timetable for delivering the Glen Sannox and the as-yet-unnamed hull 802 had slipped again with a further £6m in funding required this year.
The Government-owned yard has pushed the absolute deadlines for the two vessels to the end of this year and 2024, but hopes they will be completed this autumn and by “late summer” of next year, respectively.
Sally Campbell, of the Arran Ferry Action Group, spoke about the latest delays on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Friday.
She said most people on Arran were “dumbfounded” at the announcement, adding: “It’s an absolute disgrace.”
Ms Campbell said: “We’re really no nearer knowing when Glen Sannox, the new ferry for Arran, will be delivered or the final cost to the taxpayer.”
She also highlighted that bonuses had been paid to managers at the shipyard despite a failure to hand over the vessels.
She added: “The chance of it arriving in the autumn is slim.
“Will it be here? We could place bets on 2024 for Glen Sannox rather than late ’23. I’m very sceptical.
“We’re facing a real crisis on the island. Uncertainty, fear anxiety.”
CalMac’s existing ferry fleet is aging and the need for maintenance and repairs causes disruption for travel to and from the mainland.
In a statement to MSPs on Thursday, deputy first minister John Swinney said he had expressed the Government’s disappointment to the shipyard’s chief executive, David Tydeman.
He said: “No further delay in the delivery of these vessels is welcome and I fully share what I expect will be members’ disappointment at this announcement.
“However, the challenges and legacy issues being faced by the team at Fergusons cannot be underestimated and, after the appointment last February of the new chief executive, substantial progress has been made in facing these.”