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by Louise Wilson
22 December 2023
MSPs warned of further delay to late and overbudget ferries

The two vessels are already more than six years late | Alamy

MSPs warned of further delay to late and overbudget ferries

Supplier issues may cause further delay to the building of the long overdue and overbudget ferries for the Clyde and Hebrides route.

David Tydeman, CEO of the Ferguson Marine shipyard which is building the vessels, has written to MSPs advising that problems with commissioning the fuel system could push delivery back by two months.

The ferries are already six years behind schedule and will cost more than three times the original budget once completed.

Concerns have been raised previously about the fuel system of the vessels. In an attempt to lower their carbon footprint, their design included a dual-fuel system so they could switch between marine diesel and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The possible delay is related to the LNG system.

Tydeman wrote: “In response to your request for interim updates as issues arise, I advise that there are some supplier issues around the commissioning of the LNG systems which could, if they cannot be mitigated, cause up to two months delay.

“We are urgently exploring mitigating actions and will update by the end of January 2024 following consideration by the board at its January meeting.”

He also confirmed that “bad weather” had prevented the first of the two ferries, Glen Sannox, from moving to the dry dock.

Sannox had been expected to enter service by the end of March next year but will now not move to dry dock until April.

The second, Glen Rosa, is not due to enter service until May 2025 but build progress remains “on track”.

Economy secretary Neil Gray said he was “deeply disappointed” by the news, adding: “I have continued to impress upon the chief executive that any further slippage in the programme would have a considerable impact on the island communities.”

Scottish Tory transport spokesman Graham Simpson said: “Every time we are given a completion date it slips. At some point Neil Gray is going to have to say how much more money he is prepared to put into the yard. So far it has been a blank cheque.”

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