New ferries delayed again as price increases further
The completion of the delayed and over-budget ferries for the Clyde and Hebrides network could cost up to £270m, according to the latest estimate from the shipyard chief.
This is significantly over the initial £97m set aside for the two vessels.
The Glen Sannox alone is set to cost £130m, while the Glen Rosa (formally known as Hull 802) is estimated at £110m.
David Tydeman, the CEO of Ferguson Marine, also said worst-case contingency costs could amount to £30m.
He confirmed a further delay to the delivery date for Glen Rosa, now not expected until 31 May 2025 – seven years after its original planned delivery date.
Glen Sannox is expected to enter service on 31 March 2024, but Tydeman has warned this will “depend on how well the trials progress” and it would be “very unusual” for no issues to arise at those trials.
Tydeman said that “more than half of the large increase from the original budget” of £97m could be attributed to poor decisions made by the shipyard, both when it was privately owned and after the Scottish Government took it into public ownership.
He also said that the original price was “understated” and inflation had now become a factor, while time-related issues had also played a role in rising costs.
The updates were included in a letter to the parliament’s Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee.
Tydeman wrote: “I regret to advise that the financials I set out in my June 23 letter to you did not include c£10m of work in progress in May and June 23 with our operations and technical teams... that the finance team had not been able to capture in reports to me.
“As a result, I significantly understated the total forecast cost to complete Glen Sannox for which I apologise.”
Economy secretary Neil Gray has described the news as "extremely disappointing".
He added: "My officials meet weekly with the senior management of FMPG and we continue to impress upon them the need to do everything possible to minimise costs... As a result of this update, officials are preparing to undertake due diligence drawing upon the value for money assessment completed earlier this year."
Tory transport spokesperson Graham Simpson accused the SNP government of continuing to waste taxpayers’ money “on an astonishing scale”.
He added: “Successive SNP transport ministers have betrayed islanders time and time again. It is simply disgraceful that it has been confirmed that they will now have to wait even longer for one of these vessels to be delivered, with the 802 ferry now set to be seven years late.
“Every update from Ferguson Marine involves more costs for the taxpayers or a further slip on the endless delays island communities have had to suffer. The consequences of the ferry fiasco have been devastating for residents and the local economy in the areas affected.”
He called for a public inquiry into the matter once the ferries have been delivered.