Ferguson Marine Ferries: ‘Confidence in project higher than for a long time, if ever’

Chief executive Kevin Hobbs told Scotland on Sunday he also agreed with the yard’s decision to postpone some work on the ferry’s sister ship, still known only as Hull 802, to minimize additional delays to Glen Sannox.

He said it was “essential” to put the ship, already five years behind schedule, into service as soon as possible.

Glen Sannox at Ferguson Marine in Port Glasgow on Thursday. Photo: John Devlin

He said: “Every effort should be made to get Glen Sannox out, and if that means there’s a marginal delay at 802, that’s the logical thing to do.”

Hobbs said he had “a lot of confidence” in Ferguson’s new chief executive, David Tydeman, and believed the ferries could be delivered “very close” to current estimates.

802, destined for the Skye-Uist-Harris triangle, slipped another three months to January-March 2024.

The still unnamed Hull 802 under construction with sister ferry Glen Sannox, right, at the Ferguson Marine shipyard in Port Glasgow. Photo: John Devlin

The ferries being built at Port Glasgow are expected to total around £300million, three times over budget.

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Hobbs said: “My honest feeling is that unless there is a complete and utter failure of major equipment on commissioning it can still be achieved, but if it is not If so, you’re talking weeks of slippages, not years.

“The difficulty is that for all major and complex projects, when it comes to commissioning the machines, some of which have been in the ship for a long time, if something goes wrong, it can cancel the whole program.

Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited managing director Kevin Hobbs said it was fair to prioritize Glen Sannox over its sister ship. Photo: Susie Lowe

Hobbs, this would involve key components such as engines, rudders and propellers: “You’re talking about a hive of activity in November, December and January.

“What we’ve seen so far with the commissioning they’ve done, albeit limited, is that it’s going well.

“Overall, the ship is advancing by leaps and bounds.”

Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Graham Simpson said: “I have equal confidence in David Tydeman’s ability to stabilize the ship at Fergusons and deliver a few ferries.

“However, there are still serious questions to be answered about this whole fiasco, including the new revelation that the entire procurement process may have been rigged in favor of a yard that was not the right choice for build these ships.”

Colin Smyth, his Scottish Labor counterpart, said: “Few people believe anything the Scottish Government or its agency Cmal has to say about this ferry fiasco.

“For the sake of the islanders without a ferry for months, the taxpayers who foot the bill for this scandal, and the Fergusons workers whose warnings were ignored, we can only hope there are no more delays, and above all, we need to find out exactly what went wrong in a process that seems increasingly rigged.

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