The former chairman of Ferguson Marine says he is taking legal advice on whether the Scottish Government’s report on his management, drawn up after it took ownership of the yard, was defamatory. He says the report is aa “snow job” to cover up the role of Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited, the government agency involved in procuring the ferries. McColl says design changes by CMAL caused the delays. and cost overruns.
[Criticism of the management team is] outrageous and unacceptable – the team selected were some of the best in the UK, and head and shoulders above those in there now. I’ve asked if we can sue them for defamation of character. There needs to be an inquiry. The way they’ve handled this is incompetent.
McColl also challenged the Scottish government’s plan to spend £100 million completeing the ferries, which would write off more than £80m already spent on them, as well as the £45m in loans from the Scottish government that have already been written off.
You’d be better building from scratch and to a design that’s more suited to what’s needed. They could probably build three smaller vessels for less than £100m and it would give them more flexibility.
On Good Morning Scotland, McColl says more work should have been done on the vessel’s design before the contract was tendered.
We have incurred significantly higher costs in the work we’ve had to do on these ferries, and we’ve been engaging with CMAL to discuss these costs. Maybe the best way to put it is that we’ve been frustrated in these discussions. We’ve been discussing it for over a year, and we have been funding that, so it’s been using a lot of our capital. We’ve been funding it solely. Our view is that these have been genuine changes that have had to be made to the work we’ve been doing, and they’re changes that ought to be incurred by the buyer. I believe that perhaps more design development work could have been done prior to the invitation to tender going out, rather than dealing with multiple things that are arising as we got into the build process. But we’re working diligently through that.
McColl also told the programme that Ferguson Marine had been extensively refurbished to prepare it for new Royal Navy and commercial contracts.
The Glen Sannox is launched into the Clyde by Sturgeon, who says:
These state-of-the-art ferries are more sustainable, therefore contributing to Scotland’s world-leading climate change goals. They are also capable of carrying more vehicles and benefiting the communities that rely on them.
Ferguson Marine’s owner, Jim McColl:
The successful launch of the MV Glen Sannox marks an important milestone in Ferguson Marine’s journey to becoming a world-class shipyard. As this is the first ferry in the UK capable of being run on liquefied natural gas and marine gas oil, not only has this been an extremely exciting and ambitious project for both FMEL and CMAL, but it has been an extremely complex one as well. The experience and knowledge gained during this project will be of enormous benefit to the competitiveness of Scottish shipbuilding in the future as technology continues to develop to meet tightening clean energy legislation,
CMAL’s Kevin Hobbs:
The use of LNG in maritime transport is a sign of our ongoing commitment to exploring new fuel technologies for ferries, as well as a wider commitment to innovation in Scotland and consideration for the environmental impact of transport.