Far off ferry

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The long-suffering travelling public on Arran were no closer to knowing if or when they will ever see their new ferry, as the Banner went to press.

Nationalisation of the Ferguson Marine yard at Port Glasgow looks imminent and there has been optimistic talk that after that happens the MV Glen Sannox could be completed in 18 months.

But that is not much comfort to Arran which originally thought that it would already have been in service for the last 18 months, stretching the delay to three years.

What is to be hoped that the breakthrough in the impasse will see work on the two ferries resume. What is not at all certain is the medium to long term industrial strategy of the SNP government in taking over a shipyard only saved from administration five years ago.

There has been talk of the Scottish government learning from Finland where the national bank supports a world-class shipbuilding industry building cruise ships and super-tankers.

Could the Scottish government follow this course? It is certainly worth considering. The yard could also been used to build vessels solely for the ageing CalMac fleet which – at the last count – could urgently do with 11 new boats.

At the moment much is still up in the air but we hope in the days and weeks ahead all will become clearer.