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Michael Matheson

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15 May, 2019

Minister: Ferries may be ready next year

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Transport Minister Matheson tells the Scottish Government’s rural economy and connectivity committee that the ships could be sailing next year but he admits there are there are questions about whether this will happen.

Where we are with these two vessels is simply not where any of us would want to be. We want to see these vessels being utilised and on routes. At the present moment, the indications are they expect both vessels to be completed next year, one in the earlier part of the year prior to the summer, and one later in the year. However, there are still some questions about their ability to keep to those timescales…Last August we had a £3.5m resilience fund provided to CalMac to assist them in maintaining their existing vessels, to try and help improve reliability and we will provide a further £4m in this financial year in order to allow that to continue to be supported, to help mitigate some of the risks associated with vessels going off service.

In response to West of Scotland Conservative MSP Jamie Greene, who asked when the ferrie would be ready, Mathieson said the delays were “disappointing”. The minister also said he had not personally visited the Port Glasgow shipyard to see progress on the ferries.