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Shipyard’s former bosses quizzed over ferries bill

Ferguson Marine went bust in August last year and was then taken over by the Scottish Government.

Port Glasgow: The shipyard was taken into public ownership. © HEMEDIA/SWNS Group
Port Glasgow: The shipyard was taken into public ownership.

MSPs are questioning two former bosses of Ferguson Marine over failings while producing two ferries.

The shipyard went bust in August last year but it was months later, after the Scottish Government took over the yard, that details of issues with the ferries were made public.

Upon taking control of the yard, the Scottish Government noticed issues with the two ferries ordered by CalMac, including delays of 18 months and a possible overspend of £99m to get them on the water.

In December, finance secretary Derek Mackay claimed the problems were due to “mismanagement” by the owners of the firm.

Now, former director Jim McColl and ex-chief executive Gerry Marshall are being quizzed by MSPs on Wednesday at a meeting of the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee.

Mr McColl previously said the two ferries should be scrapped and work started again, rather than the Scottish Government paying the money necessary to make them seaworthy.

In a previous evidence session of the inquiry, questions were raised about why the Port Glasgow shipyard was awarded the contract for the vessels in the first place.

Maritime business professor Alf Baird said the bid by Ferguson Marine was “the highest quality bid received…but also the highest price”.

Roy Pedersen, a member of the Scottish Government’s Ferry Industry Advisory Group, voiced his opinion on the reasons for the contract award.

He said: “One is incompetence, the other is vested interest and the other is corruption.”

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