15 Mar, 2022

Anger at Scottish Government over Calmac ferry secrecy

Makes Statement

In the Scottish Parliament, Shadow Transport MSP Graham Simpson expresses his frustration at the lack of answers over how much longer it will take to get the Scottish ferries ready.

 Well, I’m asking a question in this chamber, and I expect to get an answer and the minister has not made an attempt to answer the question, which is by how long the ferries are delayed. It is not acceptable. We’re at a crisis point here. Just yesterday, only 13 out of CalMac’s 29 routes were operating normally. Islanders are at their wits’ end. There’s no slack in the system, so when a ferry breaks down, the knock on effects are horrendous. We need a steady pipeline of new ferries being ordered.

Business Minister Ivan McKee responds:

The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that Scotland’s islands have got the connectivity. That’s why we are making that substantial investment into ensuring that that is indeed the case. The details of the impact of that cable issue are being worked through at the moment and we will report back when the robust information is available as to the implications in terms of time and cost of that particular issue.

The Turkey order had been part of a £580 million investment in further expanding the ferry service. In contrast McKee’s predecessor, Graham Dey had asked for £1.5 billion over 10 years. A cross party visit to the shipyard planned for January had been cancelled and rescheduled for April 2022 . A freedom of information request to get an answer for when the two ferries will be ready, failed to be answered within the required 20 days and has been escalated to an appeal.

3 Apr, 2022

Ferry engine fears

Interview

Concerns are growing about engines purchased for the two Calmac ferries more than five years ago. Despite costing four million pounds, the state run Ferguson shipyard has never tested them. The process of testing allows ships engines to be both assessed and prevented from losing condition. It has been revealed that the first time this will be done is late summer 2022 which may be too late and they may seize up. Dr Spyros Hirdaris a head of Maritime Safety:

There is a high possibility that the ferry engines won’t work and it seems very high risk to expect everything will go according to plan. If you have a car for a long time and never switch on the engine it’s probably not going to work. It’s extremely important the engines are tested on board so it’s not a good thing that they haven’t been tested for all this time. They should have tested the functionality of the engines. There could be problems because the engines have been there for a long time. The engines could halt, there could be malfunctions in some of the sub-systems, there could be problems with lubrication and corrosion of engine components.There are a number of things that may not work, for example the dual-fuel system may not operate properly because it’s such a long time since it has been tested.

6 Mar, 2022

Rowling: Sturgeon’s gender reforms puts women at risk

Makes Statement

Rowling says Sturgeon is putting vulnerable women at risk with the plan to change the gender recognition laws. The proposed changes will allow a person to change their gender after three months. Rowling says this means that men facing a custodial sentence for harming women, could potentially self declare as female and be incarcerated in a female prison

Sturgeon requests list of oligarch-owned properties in Scotland

Sturgeon has requested a full list of Russian oligarch owned properties in Scotland. This is as part of an international effort to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, through economic sanctions are aimed at anyone who has either profited from or supported the Putin regime. Registers of Scotland handed over a dossier last week. comprising homes, lands, boats and goods. It has been pointed out that the many of the sanctions will fail because over 15 percent of the lands are held by offshore firms. A decade ago the SNP government set up the land reform group to investigate the secretive foreign ownership of Scottish land. The recommendation of the LRG was to ban offshore land ownership but this was ignored by the Scottish Government

5 Mar, 2022

Sturgeon: Recovery after Covid should address gender inequality

Makes Statement

Speaking at an event to mark International Women’s Day, Sturgeon says gender equality should be at the heart of building back after the covid pandemic and praises the role that women had played in the pandemic as carers and key workers. She also says that the pandemic made some inequalities worse and vowed that addressing inequalities between men and women should be at the centre of the post covid recovery

We must learn lessons from the pandemic and work together to build a fairer country.And given the massive contribution women made to tackling the pandemic, the massive contribution women make to our society each and every day, any attempt to build a better society out of this must have gender equality absolutely at its heart.

13 Mar, 2022

Sturgeon won’t say why Scottish National Bank boss resigned

Makes Statement

Sturgeon refuses to give any reasons why Eilidh Mactaggart suddenly resigned as chief executive of the state-owned bank. Sturgeon says MacTaggart’s resignation happening at the same time that Kate Forbes announced the Scottish Government’s 10year economic plan is “a coincidence” and in response to requests for clarifications she said:

I am sure everyone will understand that I am not going to go into the confidential details of anybody’s employment situation.The former chief executive of the Scottish National Investment Bank is a private individual. She has opted to resign her post and is entitled to the duty of care that any individual in her circumstances is entitled to.

2 Mar, 2022

Sturgeon: No connection between Ukraine and Scottish Independence

Makes Statement

Sturgeon weighs into the Ukraine debate to clarify statements made by her own party members. Mike Russell SNP party president and Michelle Thompson Scottish likened Ukraine’s’ fight against their Russian invaders – to the fight for Scottish independence. When asked about this, Sturgeon said it was “overstating things”

There is no connection between a war in Ukraine and the support and campaign for independence in Scotland.What I think should unite all of us right now are some fundamental values, the values that underpin I think much of our democracy in Scotland – and certainly underpin my party and the independence movement – the commitment to democracy, freedom, the rule of international law and the value of the world coming together in solidarity. These are the values that we hold dear and these are the values that people bravely in Ukraine are standing up for in the toughest imaginable circumstances. But we should all remember right now this is about Ukraine fighting for these values and our responsibility is to do everything we can to support them.

Promises 1/2 million medical items for Ukraine

Makes Statement

Sturgeon says she will send 500,000 medical items to Ukraine to help those “fighting a battle for democracy and freedom” against their Russian invaders. While visiting a distribution centre that was collating the items she described this as an initial consignment and said that while the conflict was ongoing she do as much as she could to support them. Predicting that the war would be “likely to be grimmer and more deadly in the weeks and months to come” she asked that the Prime Minister make it easier for fleeing Ukrainians to come to the UK. She described the UK Government as having moved in the right right direction but not far enough.

I would appeal to the Prime Minister to stop moving forward incrementally, stop having to be dragged into a better position. Follow the example of the European Union who’s opened its doors and said people from Ukraine will get entry and the right to stay for three years, follow the example of Ireland as they drop visa requirements, open the doors of the UK to people fleeing this horror in Ukraine and sort the paperwork later.That’s the humanitarian thing to do, it’s what we need to do to give life to the words of support that everybody is articulating right now. But it’s also the practical and necessary thing to do.I don’t think any of us has properly grasped the magnitude of the population displacement that is going to come from this war.

She also said that the donation of so many medical items would not mean that the Scottish NHS would go without.

Ferries three years overdue, £110m cost overrun predicted

Production delay

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?

8 Feb, 2022

Sturgeon: Johnson should resign, says she nearly resigned

Interview

In an interview with Sky Sturgeon says that she had considered quitting her job last year whilst she was being investigated for breaching the ministerial code. She said that the position of First minister like that of Prime Minister was a privilege not something to be taken for granted and where you are found to have broken the standards required of the job, you have to be willing to step aside.

My own personal experience this time last year – I was being accused in a completely different context, of having breached the ministerial code. I should say I was found by an independent adviser, and in an independent report, not to have breached the ministerial code. But when that was ongoing, I had within myself to ask myself some serious questions and I had came to the conclusion in my mind, that had I been deemed to have breached the ministerial code – I didn’t think I had – but if an independent person had said I had, then in the interest of the office I hold and in the interest of the country, I at that point would have resigned.I’m sure it would have been really difficult and I’m glad that didn’t come to pass. But these responsibilities are heavy responsibilities, and they require all of us in these offices to contemplate things that perhaps others might think is difficult to imagine.

She also says Boris Johnson should resign.

I think if Boris Johnson has decency and integrity, however difficult it may be, he will reach the conclusion that the time is right for him to step aside.

28 Feb, 2022

Sturgeon: waive visa for Ukrainian refugees

Makes Statement

Sturgeon asks the Home Office to review its immigration policy to allow Ukranians fleeing war to enter the UK without a visa, calling for them to be given asylum first and their paperwork be processed after. She also called the existing Home office immigration policy “inhumane ind indefensible”, comparing UK policy with the Republic of Ireland who had completely done away with any visa requirement for entry in response to the situation in Ukraine.

23 Feb, 2022

Sturgeon calls for RT UK Ban

Makes Statement

Sturgeon says she is appalled that Alex Salmond continues to work for a Russian State television company RT and has asked that Ofcom revoke RT’s licence so that they are prevented from broadcasting in the UK

It’s a matter for Ofcom, but I do think there is now a very serious question about whether RT should continue to have a broadcast here in Scotland.And I would certainly encourage Ofcom to look at that very, very seriously and closely indeed.I’m appalled at Alex Salmond’s continued involvement with RT, I don’t think it’s any secret now that I don’t think he should ever have had a television show on RT, but it is even more unthinkable now that that should continue.

https://youtu.be/dV1fCxA2e2Y

22 Feb, 2022

Sturgeon: Covid tests to remain free

Makes Statement

Sturgeon says that even though free Covid tests will end in England on 1st April, they will remain free to users in Scotland. She was unable to confirm how they would be paid for though. She expressed “frustration at the position of the UK Government”, who she said may reject calls for extra money and “demand instead that funding is taken from elsewhere in the health budget”.

We consider it important – in line with the principle of healthcare free at the point of use – that they should remain free of charge for any circumstance in which government recommends testing.

Announces end of mask requirements

Makes Statement

Sturgeon says masks will cease to be a legal requirement in Scotland after 21st March but she “strongly encourages” people to continue to wear them in public. She also added that should another dangerous new variant arise then restrictions could be reimposed.

As of March 21 – assuming no significant adverse developments in the course of the virus – we expect that the legal requirement to wear face coverings in certain indoor settings and on public transport will be converted to guidance. However, we will continue to strongly recommend the wearing of face coverings in shops and other indoor public places, and on public transport. We also expect on March 21 to lift the legal requirement for businesses, places of worship and service providers to have regard to Scottish government guidance on covid, and to take reasonably practicable measures set out in the guidance. The Scottish Government will adopt three threat risk levels that could see restrictions reimposed

10 Feb, 2022

Says post-independence pensions a ‘matter of negotiation’

Makes Statement

Sturgeon has says the English and Scottish governments would negotiate pension liabilities at the point of independence but other senior members of her party have given different views on how this will be handled. The Blueprint for Scottish Independence, which was written before the 2014 referendum, said after independence the responsibility for paying out to Scottish pensioners would be held by the Scottish Government.

There are assets and liabilities, including pensions, that of course will be subject to negotiation when Scotland becomes independent. On an ongoing basis it will be for the Scottish Government to fund Scottish pensions, but in terms of how we take account of historic assets and liabilities, that will be a matter of negotiation.

In response to the argument that pensions are paid out of current taxes rather than out of national insurance contributions:

You might want to look at the Fraser of Allander comments on this just recently when they talk about the fact that access to pensions in the UK is not based on citizenship, it is based on National Insurance contributions.

Short cable replacement delays ferries

Production delay

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.

Says independent Scotland would fund pensions

Makes Statement

Sturgeon says an independent Scotland would fund Scottish pensions.

On an ongoing basis it will be for the Scottish Government to fund Scottish pensions.

9 Feb, 2022

Comments on Fire Service use of Nalaxone, drug deaths

Makes Statement

While visiting a community fire station in Bathgate, Sturgeon comments on an announcment by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service that firefighters are to start carrying Nalaxonespray which can reverse the effects of an opiod overdose.

[Nalaxone] is a part of the overall approach we have taken to reduce the unacceptable toll that drugs have taken in Scotland and the number of deaths that are caused by drugs. We already have naloxone being used by the police (and) by the ambulance service. The Fire and Rescue Service initiative is an important addition to that. Of course, ultimately, we want to see naloxone kits widely available to people, to families of people who are drug users, for example, because it’s easy to administer and it can be the difference between life and death.

I want to see a significant reduction in the lives that are lost and are wasted to drugs, but we recognise it’s going to take time. What we have seen in recent years in Scotland in the form of drugs deaths is not acceptable. It’s not acceptable to me, to the Government and it shouldn’t be acceptable to anybody across the country so we are determined to turn that around.

Sturgeon hired Godley despite Yousaf ‘divisive’ warning

Freedom of Information response

A freedom of information response shows Sturgeon approved Godley’s £10,000 Covid commercial fee, despite Yousaf raising concerns. On August 30, Mr Yousaf’s private secretary emailed the First Minister’s Office to say that My Yousaf felt using Ms Godley could “be divisive” and “there may be many people who purposely switch off if she is fronting it”. Yousaf wanted an unnamed male celebrity to front the public health campaign instead as he would “be a better candidate, given his broader appeal”. Sturgeon’s office replied:

FM (First Minister) is content to clear but agrees with Cab Sec comments. FM is very supportive of Janey Godley and she has been hugely helpful to our Covid messaging but she is perceived to be on one side of the political debate in Scotland and so may not speak to the maximum number of people.

8 Feb, 2022

Omicron: ‘We are now through the worst’

Makes Statement

Sturgeon says that Scotland is over the worst of the Omicron pandemic. Daily infections and hospitalisations are continuing to fall and she will look at lessening restrictions after the 22nd February. This has led to the lifting of nearly all the additional restrictions that were put in place in December but the requirement for face masks and vaccine passports will remain, subject to review later in February

We are now through the worst of this wave of Omicron. We are on a good track at this state. To stay on this track, continued care and caution is needed. After almost two years of this ordeal, I know getting back to normal for short periods followed by further disruption to our lives, is not what any of us want. A return to normal that is sustained is what we want and are striving for. That is what the updated Strategic Framework will be aiming to support

9 Dec, 2020

Holyrood committee report published

Financial Report

Holyrood’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee publishes a report calling for “root and branch” reform of the system for procuring ferries and concluding that the established procedures are “no longer fit for purpose”. Former bosses at Ferguson shipyard, ministers, state-owned CMAL and Transport Scotland are all criticised. Committee convener Edward Mountain:

All parties involved must share in the responsibility for the catastrophic failure to deliver this contract on time or on budget. A lack of due diligence, poor project management and a failure by all parties to take the necessary action to resolve problems as they emerged means that the cost of the contract has increased from £97m to almost £200m while the island communities who are relying on theses ferries to be delivered continue to suffer.

Goverment spokesperson:

We remain fully supportive of the efforts of CalMac, CMAL and Transport Scotland in delivering ferry services on the Clyde and Hebrides Network and to the Northern Isles, but we also recognise the challenges in doing so and the need for continuous improvement to optimise delivery. We have already committed to commission a study of the legal structures and governance arrangements which exist between the “tripartite group” of Transport Scotland, CMAL and CalMac and will publish a ferries stakeholder engagement strategy.

CMAL:

We have a successful track record of delivering ferry projects on time and budget and we are committed to continuous improvement of our processes, so steps are already being taken to further develop the planning process for new ferries.

16 Aug, 2019

Scottish government buys yard

Acquisition

The Ferguson shipyard is bought by the Scottish government. Ministers will now operate the yard under a management agreement with administrators Deloitte. The Scottish government wil buy the facility if no private buyer is found within four weeks. McColl, who could not persuade ministers to pay more than the £97m contract price for the disputed ferries, will no longer own the yard. The agreement means work on the CalMac ferries, and other contracts, can continue while efforts to find a commercial buyer get under way. Finance Secretary Mackay:

We have always been clear that we want to complete the vessels, secure jobs and give the yard a future. Public control will provide much-needed continuity of employment now and ensure the completion of the ferry contracts at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer. It is absolutely essential that the outstanding contracts to build these two ferries are completed. [Putting the company into administration’ was not an outcome I was willing to consider.

19 Aug, 2019

Mackay: Ferry delivery schedule must be set by October

Makes Statement

Speaking after meeting board members at the shipyard, Mckay says the new delivery schedule for the two ferries must be set by October.

We have always been clear that we want to complete the vessels, secure jobs and give the yard a future. On Friday, I met with the excellent workforce and stressed the Scottish government’s commitment to achieving the best possible outcome for the yard. Today, I convened the first meeting of the newly-established programme review board and tasked them with establishing a new delivery schedule for both vessels and a revised cost window. This group will help assess the current situation and ensure the effective and efficient delivery schedule of the CMAL ferry contracts as quickly as possible.

31 Aug, 2019

Administrator: Buyers expressing interest in yard

Makes Statement

Administrators for Ferguson’s say they have held talks with several potential buyers (the exact number is not known) and are “encouraged” by the interest so far. The yard will be bought by the Scottish government if a private buyer is not found within four weeks of the date of the firm going into administration. Deloitte:

The joint administrators are undertaking a sale process and are actively engaged in discussions with a number of potentially-interested parties, however it is early in the process and therefore it is not appropriate for us to comment further at this stage. We have been encouraged by the level of interest in the yard so far but would encourage any remaining parties who may have an interest to contact us.

The Scottish government:

Ministers remain committed to the completion of vessels, securing jobs, and working towards finding a solution to support future shipbuilding at the site. Deloitte, as administrator, is currently going through the process of market testing for a private buyer. We will also start work to determine the optimal structure for the yard to ensure its long-term future. Our first priority is to establish a new delivery programme to ensure the completion of the CMAL ferry contracts.

22 Jan, 2022

Ferry Action Group raises design concerns

Design Change

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.

CMAL:

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.

19 Jan, 2022

Chairman and board member step down

Board Change

Chairman Alistair Mackenzie and board member John Hudson both step down from their roles at Ferguson marine for personal reasons. Mackenzie:

I have decided for personal reasons that now is the right time to stand down. I have been proud to serve on the board of Ferguson Marine, supporting the business during a highly challenging period as it recovered from administration and through a transformation programme. Working with the wider board and senior management team, significant progress has been made to improve governance, processes and systems and to strengthen the workforce.

I would like to thank John Hudson as he departs, as well as the wider board and shipyard workforce, for their commitment and support during the last 18 months. With the arrival of a new chief executive, and three new board members in the coming months, I am sure the shipyard will continue to strengthen.

7 Sep, 2019

Glen Sannox still without windows

Production delay

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.

Unnamed source:

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.

2 Feb, 2022

Scotland has 26 cases of BA.2 variant

Makes Statement

Sturgeon says a new variant of Covid-19, known as BA.2, that is thought to be more transmissible than the highly contagious Omicron variant has infected at least 26 people in Scotland. She says there is no evidence it is more dangerous than well-known strains of the disease.

BA.2 does appear to have the ability to outrun the main Omicron variant, which may indicate that it is more transmissible. Investigations into this are ongoing both in the UK and in other countries like Denmark where the subvariant has been circulating for longer. At the moment this BA.2 subvariant is not a cause for any alarm nor a cause to change our approach but it does warrant further study. It is also a reminder that the course of this pandemic or any pandemic, indeed, does remain uncertain.

1 Feb, 2022

Praises Loganair on 60th anniversary

Tribute

Sturgeon praises Loganair on the company’s 60th anniversary.

For six decades now, Loganair, the oldest name in UK airlines, has made an exceptional contribution to the Scottish economy. Since 1962, the airline has helped keep the country moving, ensuring that people across Scotland are connected – particularly those living in and visiting our most remote communities. The importance of that has never been clearer than during the pandemic as the airline continued to operate, transporting patients, tests and equipment across Scotland and beyond. Loganair’s leadership in the net zero transition is also hugely appreciated and it should help ensure a very bright future for Scotland’s airline.

Supports McDermid, Rattray over Goodwillie signing

Makes Statement

Sturgeon says she supports McDermid and Rattray, after the former brakes her lifelong support and sponsorship of the club, and the latter resigns from the woman’s team.

2 Feb, 2022

Sturgeon: Rovers ‘must reflect’ on Goodwillie signing

Makes Statement

Sturgeon comments on Goodwillie’s signing:

I think the statement Raith Rovers issued last night actually compounded the problem…what they effectively seemed to be saying is that it didn’t matter how a man had behaved towards a woman, the only thing that mattered to them was whether he could score goals for the football club. That really illustrates the distance we’ve still got to go as a society if our rhetoric about zero tolerance of sexual violence against women is to be a reality. Football players are role models and football clubs have a responsibility to make sure they are positive role models for the wee boys and the wee girls who look up to them. This is a player who was found in a civil court, albiet on the balance of probablities, to have raped a woman and as far as I’m aware, hasn’t shown any remorse or reflection for that and I think Raith Rovers really do have to reflect on the message that sends.

1 Feb, 2022

Staff want to work from home

Makes Statement

According to a Holyrood filing, civil servants in transport authority want to work from home three to four days a week. Meanwhile, Freedom of Information laws also disclosed that only 5% of staff went into the office at some point between the start of the pandemic and the end of November. Transport Scotland spokesman:

Clearly a wider conversation is happening across all employers at the moment on what their working practices will be in the future. In line with the expectations set out by Ministers and national guidance, we are taking a gradual and phased approach to our move to hybrid working. For now, working from home will continue to form a significant part of the mix of most people’s arrangements. We are currently working on what our approach to hybrid working will look like but being  supportive of our staff, supporting our own business and the wider economy, and of course our wider policy position on active travel, are key considerations.

Shadow Transport Minister Simpson:

It’s a pretty damning indictment of Scotland’s transport network that those responsible for running it would rather work from home than navigate the traffic jams and delayed trains to get to their office. It’s also dispiriting for those workers across Scotland who are dependant on roads and rail to get to their work. People need transport they can trust to get them into the office on time, and those charged with the running of the network should be pulling out all the stops to make this happen.

28 Jan, 2022

HCC wins £5m insurance judgement against CMAL

Judgement

A summary judgment is granted in favour of HCC International insurance aganst CMAL to claim £5 million owed as a result of the way ministers bought the shipyard when it was in administration. The Scottish government, which owns CMAL, said it was aware.  Deputy High Court Judge Simon Gleeson:

It is easy to see why this decision seems to have caused so much anger and irritation amongst the Scottish ministers. In paying for the business of FMEL (Ferguson Marine) by reducing FMEL’s liabilities to them, they believed that they were simply transferring their own money from one pocket to another, with the transaction having no impact on their overall obligations. The discovery that the choice of transaction structure had resulted in their being required to pay a little over £5million to a third party must have been highly unwelcome.

Scottish government spokesman:

We are aware of a summary judgment that has been made in the English courts in relation to the claim.

1995

Hired by Drumchapel Law Centre

Hired

She was also quite an effective advocate and I used to get good feedback from people she represented. Nicola often got good results for her clients she had a forceful although not aggressive style. She was very bright and very able and she was very committed to the work. It was not the sort of work you’d go into for money or the profile, so she clearly wanted to do it to help people.

20 Dec, 2019

McColl: Ferries ‘should be scrapped’

Makes Statement

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.

25 Sep, 2019

Administrator lists debts: Taxpayer owed £50m

Makes Statement

A “statement of affairs” produced by Deloitte, the administrator of the shipyard, show £49.7m is owed to the Scottish government – nearly £5m more than previously revealed. The Scottish government said it provided two commercial loans totalling £45m to Ferguson Marine, on which interest applies. The new figures also reveal that two partially-built CalMac ships at the centre of the firm’s collapse have been valued at £48.3m, nearly half the value of the £97m deal agreed to build the ships. Ferguson Marine went bust owning more than £73m. Further details from the document show that:

  • £15.8m is owed to finance firm HCCI
  • The Scottish government is owed £49.7m
  • A total of £3m is owed to Clyde Blowers Capital, owned by former Ferguson boss Jim McColl
  • There is an outstanding debt of £426,000 owed to HMRC
  • The 300-strong workforce is owed £164,000 in overtime, holiday pay and pension contributions
  • £1m is due to the European Commission.
  • £3.9m is owed to business creditors, including a number of local Inverclyde companies
16 Dec, 2021

Ferguson’s: Hair to step down

Makes Statement

Ferguson’s announces, that after two years at the company, Hair will step down as turnaround director. He spent two years as turnaround director. He will be replaced by Tydeman in February. Chairman Alistair Mackenzie:

[It is] the right time to welcome a permanent and longer-term leader…The board and wider team at Ferguson Marine extend our thanks to Tim Hair for his leadership, expertise and commitment over the past two years. It has been challenging, not least because of a global pandemic, but he has implemented a series of important changes, systems and controls and built an experienced and skilled team to strengthen the business and establish a solid footing for growth.

29 Aug, 2019

McColl ‘frustrated’ by ferry design changes

Makes Statement

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.

15 May, 2019

Minister: Ferries may be ready next year

Makes Statement

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.

21 Nov, 2017

Sturgeon launches MV Glen Sannox

Product Release

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.

11 Aug, 2020

Enters dry dock

Repair

The Glen Sannox enters the Dale Marine dry dock, a short distance down thr river from Port Glasgow, for remedial work. The ship will have its bulbous bow replaced, paint will be repaired and marine growth will be removed. The ship is due to return to the Ferguson yard at the end of August. Turnaround director Hair:

This is a key milestone in the recovery programme for the dual fuel vessels. Some work has been carried out on MV Glen Sannox at the shipyard, but the dry dock period is important because it will bring the vessel up to a condition that will allow us to move forward in earnest with the vessel completion plan. It is also another clear sign of recovery for the shipyard business and comes only weeks after the launch of a steel barge for a customer in the offshore oil and marine sector.

25 Feb, 2021

Shipyard to recruit 120 extra workers

Hire

Ferguson Marine announces it is hiring 120 extra staff, mostly pipe fitters and steel workers. The extra workers will mean the shipyard can be in production seven days a week during spring and summer and will bring total number of staff to more than 500. The new workers will be working on MV Glen Sannox and hull 802 for at least six months. Turnaround Director Hair:

Last year was challenging, with disruption created by the pandemic, but we’re confident we can increase momentum in 2021. We are confident, despite many challenges, 2021 will be a pivotal year in securing the long-term future of the shipyard. We must do everything possible to deliver the dual fuel ferry programme, improve productivity, secure contracts for future vessels, and protect local jobs.

11 Mar, 2021

Pandemic shutdowns add £4.3 million costs

Makes Statement

An extra £4.3m in costs have been added to the cost of the MV Glen Sannox and it sister ship. The Port Glasgow shipyard had to suspend working for four months during the first lockdown and was closed for another four weeks earlier this year. The shutdowns cost £3.3m and £1m respectively.

Tunaround director, Tim Hair, says the Covid shutdowns were being treated as “exceptional costs”, but the previously-announced remedial work, costing £110m-£114m, remained within budget. Hair said that 80% of design work was now signed-off by regulators and that the latest delivery schedule of April to June 2022 for Glen Sannox, and December 2022 to February 2023 for the second ship, was still achievable. Hair says the yard should be able to take on new work from next spring.

To date, 191 applications have been received for skilled workers, with 40 so far identified as having the relevant skills.

9 Sep, 2020

Dry dock repair works completed

Announcement

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.