The Scottish Government has accepted the recommendations made by Audit Scotland into the Ferguson Marine building of lifeline ferries 801 and 802: “The Government needs to apologise to these communities immediately”: Report Highlights Multiple Failures in Ferries Project
In her statement to the Scottish Parliament Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said that ‘it was a challenge worth taking on’.
David Tydeman, CEO of Ferguson Marine, in a letter to the Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee of the Scottish Parliament set out the reasons for the continuing delays in the construction of the ferries. Delays of 8 months for the 801, expected now between March and May 2023, and of 6 months for the 802, delivery expected between October and December 2023.
There has also been an increase in estimated costs:
801 – £58/£59million
802 – £61/£63million
The delay in construction has also meant that some of the equipment is no longer under warranty.
Vessel 801 had legacy cabling installed before the company went into administration and was taken over by the Scottish Government. David Tydeman’s predecessor, Tim Hair, in his update last year to the Scottish Parliament stated:
“Each of the ferries under construction at Ferguson relies on a complex network of cables, requiring the installation of over 9800 individual cables with a total length of 243km. Approximately 15% of these (Legacy Cables) were installed on 801 under the control of Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited (FMEL) prior to its Administration in August 2019. None of the Legacy Cables were installed after the Scottish Government took control of the yard. It has recently emerged that a large proportion of the Legacy Cables have not been installed in line with the engineering information held by FMEL, leaving the free ends too short connect them to the equipment.
“The legacy cables are predominantly in the machinery spaces and either supply equipment required to commission the vessel, or they run in cable trays which will also support new cables. 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.”
In his letter David Tydeman said:
Vessel 802 has suffered delays because of the issues with 801.
Kate Forbes said:
“We saved hundreds of jobs and we stand by our commitment to the shipbuilding communities in Inverclyde, and our island communities that rely on the vessels.
“I have been crystal clear on what I expect from Ferguson Marine in terms of delivering 801 and 802, as well as turning the business around to be competitive. I recognise the critical nature of completing the ferries for the sake of island communities and I understand the urgency and necessity of delivering these vessels.
“I fully accept the Audit Scotland report’s recommendations on Ferguson Marine in public ownership and work is well underway on a number of the recommendations.”