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By Hugh Boag
The cost of the two ferries being built at Ferguson Marine should not exceed the current £206 million estimate, the new boss at the yard has said.
However, that is still more than double the original estimate and the new Arran ferry, the MV Glen Sannox, and her sister ship Hull 802 are nearly five years late.
Chief executive David Tydeman made the claim as the Port Glasgow yard reached a milestone in the construction of the second ferry which has now been fitted with her large bow.
It has been claimed the cost of the two ferries could be as much as £400 million, leading to calls for the ferries to be scrapped and the project started again.
Mr Tydeman told BBC Scotland he had ‘certainly not’ been given a blank cheque by the Scottish government to finish building the ships and that it remained his intention to deliver both ships for £206m by the end of 2023.
He added: ‘I think we’ve bought most of the materials we need, I think we’ve got most of the labour we need. So if we run the programme properly we shouldn’t need any more.’
The bow unit, which weighs 100 tonnes, is the largest single unit to be added to the ferry’s steel hull and its completion heralds the start of a ramping up of construction which will involve more than 150 people.
The major engineering operation to fit the bow involved a 15-strong team and two heavy-lift cranes and now that the bow has been sited, the remainder of the final units can be lifted into place to complete the hull.
Once the hull is completed, the additional staff can start installing the ferry’s aluminium superstructure – all of the units that sit above the main deck.
Mr Tydeman said: ‘One of the key changes I have made since taking over is separating the programmes for the two dual fuel vessels. This is to allow the programme for vessel 802 to progress, irrespective of the schedule and programme for MV Glen Sannox. For the past year or so, most shipyard resources have been focused on MV Glen Sannox and this approach will balance that, allow us to progressively build-up resources on Hull 802 and work towards launch early next year. My aim is to demonstrate that Ferguson Marine, in line with its historic reputation and without legacy issues, has the capability to deliver a new build vessel.’
Hull 802 is scheduled for delivery between October and December next year and MV Glen Sannox is also scheduled for next year, between March and May.
Chief exexutive David Tydeman No_B17Hull01
The bow unit is installed on Hull 802, which means work can begin on the superstructure. No_B17Hull02