A date for your diary

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Here’s a date for your diary and you heard it here first … Arran will have its new ferry on April 14, 2022.

That is the exact date set this week by the Scottish Government, but it seems that there is a long way to go yet.

The latest progress report on the completion of the MV Glen Sannox and her sister ship makes disturbing reading and clearly a lot is going to have to go right, and go quickly, if that specific 2022 date is to be met.

The fact that the design work is now being carried out by more than 80 specialists in Romania shows that, even now, a huge amount of technical work still needs to be done.

The work has gone abroad, the turnaround director Tim Hair says, because the ‘technical specialists’ could not be found here, and this is not the only area of expertise the yard is struggling to find.

Another huge worry must be the admission that the ferry may have an ‘inherent design problem’ after hull vibration analysis. Talk about getting your excuses in early.

The last thing the long-suffering travelling public on Arran need is a ferry with a fault – two years before it even arrives.

The top 10 of risks to the project, contained in the report, does not fill me with complete confidence that we will see the boat in two years – if at all. However, the government have made a commitment and they should be held to account.