Work on troubled ferry ‘back on track’ after key repair

Ferguson Marine is constructing the MV Glen Sannox for CalMac.

Work on troubled ferry ‘back on track’ after key repair
MV Glen Sannox: Ferguson Marine is constructing the ferry for CalMac. Picture by Cameron Shaw

The shipbuilder behind a new £230m ferry which is four years behind schedule believes the end is in sight after a key repair was completed.

Ferguson Marine, based in Port Glasgow, Inverclyde, is constructing the MV Glen Sannox for CalMac, which will serve the Arran to Ardrossan route.

The ship’s bulbous bow, which failed to meet industry standards, was replaced earlier this week at Dales Marine dry dock in nearby Greenock at a cost of £400,000.

In 2017, before the official launch of the MV Glen Sannox, the bulbous bow was rejected by maritime classification society Lloyds Register.

Ferguson Marine said that during inspection the surveyor said the manufacturing process failed to meet International Association of Classification Society (IACS) construction standards.

It described the replacement of the bulbous bow as a “crucial part” of MV Glen Sannox’s current programme of remediation work, which includes the installation of deck windows, paint and coating repair, hull cleaning and pipework modification.

Ferguson Marine have now claimed the troubled project is ‘back on track’.

The firm, which was nationalised by the Scottish Government last year, has been plagued with setbacks.

Jim McColl, the company’s former owner, called for the intervention of the auditor general as ministers missed a key deadline to produce an analysis of the fiasco.

Ferguson Marine collapsed last summer, owing more than £49m to the Scottish Government.

It was eventually taken into public ownership last August, while the ferry building costs more than doubled from an original £97m.

MV Glen Sannox is scheduled to return to the Ferguson Marine shipyard at the end of this month.

Fiona Hyslop, economy secretary, and Paul Wheelhouse, minister for energy, connectivity and the islands, are due to appear before the rural economy and connectivity committee when it resumes its investigation on August 26.

Tim Hair, turnaround director at Ferguson Marine, said: “The removal of the mis-manufactured bulbous bow marks another major landmark in our recovery programme for the dual fuel vessels.

“The journey to getting them to completion has not been without its frustrations, but this latest milestone is another indicator that the project is getting back on track.

“Like all businesses globally, we were impacted by further delays this year due to Covid-19.

“Now, with over 50% of our workforce back at the yard, operating in line with government guidance and work on both ferries scheduled to ramp up this autumn, I am confident in the progress we are making and optimistic for the future of the shipyard.”