SNP's Ferguson shipyard debacle demands an independent inquiry – Brian Wilson

The “turnaround director” appointed by the Scottish government to sort out the debacle at the Ferguson shipyard it now owns is to depart with nothing much turned around apart from his bank balance.

Two ferries being built at the Ferguson shipyard in Port Glasgow are years overdue (Picture: Lewis McKenzie/PA)

Incredibly, Tim Hair – appointed on the strength of a telephone interview with a couple of civil servants – will walk off with fees of £2 million over 30 months, during which two rusting hulks continue to lie, five years late and counting, in Port Glasgow.

The new man at the helm is David Tydeman who, according to the Ferguson press release, spent ten years until 2018 at Oyster Yachts where he was “credited with building a strong, globally recognised brand”. Since then he has been working as a consultant.

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Alas, the press release did not find space to recall that Oyster Yachts went bust in 2018 with the loss of 150 jobs and was subsequently bought out of liquidation. That might have been worth a mention, in the interests of a transparent new beginning.

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This whole affair is so extreme as to demand a full-scale independent inquiry. The appointment of Erik Østergaard, the chair of CMAL – the client for the unbuilt ferries – to the same role at Caledonian MacBrayne, the operators if and when the two ships exist, has added to the sense of unreality.

As Jim McColl, now the SNP’s nemesis in the Ferguson affair, said of the Danish businessman: “He is the person at the core of the two ferries debacle. I didn’t think there was anything the Scottish government could do that would surprise me, but this beggars belief”.

Welcome to the circus, Mr Tydeman.

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