New Arran ferry less than half built

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The new Arran ferry is ‘significantly less than half built’, a government inquiry has found.

The vessels being built at Ferguson shipyard are £100m over budget and likely to be three years overdue.

A Holyrood inquiry into the delay was told warnings that the Inverclyde yard was not set up to build two ferries side-by-side were ignored.

Work got under way before designs were finalised and workforce morale was badly hit by the delay, MSPs heard.

Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited (FMEL) in Port Glasgow was taken into public ownership by the Scottish Government last year after the ferry problems led to it going into administration.

The row between Jim McColl – the yard’s previous owner and CMAL (Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd) was described as being like the ‘stand-off at the OK Corral’.

Tim Hair, the recently-appointed turnaround director, said the MV Glen Sannox and her sister ship were ‘significantly less than half built’ and 95 per cent of the ships’ design has not been agreed with CMAL more than four years after the deal was first brokered.

Mr Hair explained that more naval architects and marine engineers have now been hired to do this job.

The shipyard executive said the planning process for changes to the design under the yard’s previous regime was ‘either absent or badly flawed’.

He added: ‘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.’

Holyrood’s rural economy and connectivity committee is investigating the construction and procurement of ferry vessels, focusing on the failure to complete the two CalMac ferries on time and on budget.