The ferries are now three years overdue, less than half built and are predicted to cost £110 million more than originally estimated. Hair says that the ships are “significantly less than half built” and that 95% of the ships design has not been agreed with CMAL more than four years after the ships were ordered. He said that more naval architects and engineers have been taken on to deal with this. The shipyards executive said that the planning process for changes to the design under the yards prior to nationalisation was “either absent or badly flawed”:
The number of £110m [the extra money needed to finish the project] has been arrived at from a very detailed examination of the two vessels and an understanding of the work that needs to be done in order to bring them up to a viable standard.It is a very significant number but it is a number that has been based on as rigorous an assessment as we’ve been able to carry out. It’s one where I am confident we can deliver the two vessels for that amount.
Committee member and Tory MSP Peter Chapman said people would find the situation “absolutely incredible”.
How the heck do you get to £110m, which is more than what the original cost was to start from scratch with a pile of steel and nothing?
In a letter to Lockhart, convenor the Scottish Government’s Net Zero committee, Ferguson Marine’s turnaround director says that in the week before Christmas 2021, engineers unwound coils that had been installed in late 2018/early 2019 and found some of them were too short to reach the necessary equipment. After three weeks of investigation, Ferguson engineers believe that at least 400 cables will need to be addressed, with the worst case requiring 939 cables to be replaced. The faulty cables were installed by a sub-contractor before the shipyard went into administration – none of the cables were installed after the Scottish Government took control of the yard. Most or all the vables will need to be cut out and the process started again. Hair says it is not currently possible to determine the impact on schedule and cost of the problem. Hair:
I regret to advise you that a problem has recently emerged with the build of 801 which I thought I should immediately bring to your attention. Commissioning and further cable installation cannot take place until the legacy cables are corrected, delaying the overall project to deliver 801. There will inevitably be knock-on effects that will delay the schedule for 802. At present it is not possible to determine the impact on schedule and cost.
The Arran Ferry Action Group raises concerns about the absence of a key hull feature required for the Glen Sannox to operate efficiently at 14.5 knots. Additional confusion arises over the divergence of design between Glen Sannox and sister ship Hull 802, which were intended to be identical in design and specification. Chairman Sam Bourne:
It is such a terrible mess. The whole thing is complete confusion and it affects the performance of the boats. Fitting a ducktail now is bound to further delay the completion of the vessel. And if it is needed on 802 why is it not on Glen Sannox which has the same hull. You are going to have two boats that do not meet the spec that was given and are not identical. If one has it and the other hasn’t it just won’t meet the performance targets set. If the boats don’t meet the performance specifications, CMAL can refuse it and then who owns these vessels. If you have an inefficient hull form, they will cost more money to operate, and the green criteria they try to hit, you can throw those in the bin. Serious questions have to be asked of those who run the businesses at the time to allow this.
We are satisfied that the vessels meet the required specification, and are continuing to work closely with Transport Scotland, Scottish Government and Fergusons to manage the delivery of the two vessels.
The ferry returns to the water after dry dock works are completed. 42 tonnes of mussels were removed from the hull, its bulbous bow replaced, paint repaired, and external welding completed. Hair:
Following a period of uncertainty due to COVID-19, it has been really gratifying to see our team return to outdoor working on MV Glen Sannox. We’ve made some solid strides forward over the last few weeks on MV Glen Sannox and have slightly extended the dry dock period to take advantage of the stability of the vessel whilst stationed there to carry out some additional tasks. Now that the ferry has been brought up to its current condition and has returned to our shipyard, the next steps will include work on the superstructure, electrical work and the installation of approximately 16km of pipework.
It emerges that the bridge of the Glen Sannox still has no windows almost two years after launch. Black shapes were instead painted on the control room of the Glen Sannox prior to launch by Nicola Sturgeon in November 2017. GMB Scotland secretary Gary Smith:
[An inquiry] will also need to establish why a ferry ‘launched’ nearly two years ago has no windows on its bridge. What appears to be windows is actually black paint.
Fake windows were painted on a couple of years ago. It’s thought it was to make the boat look more finished than it really is.
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.