Two ferries due to be in service in 2018 have been delayed further by coronavirus and will not be ready until 2022 and 2023, economy secretary Fiona Hyslop revealed to MSPs today.
The Ferguson Marine shipyard in Port Glasgow was awarded a £97 million contract to build the vessels, designated 801 and 802, before it collapsed into administration last August and was saved by the Scottish Government.
However, significant delays were discovered in the building of the ships which pushed back their completion to October 2021 and July 2022 respectively, as well as increasing the cost by £110.3 million.
Ms Hyslop said today the project would be delayed by a further six months for each ferry.
She said Glen Sannox would not be completed until between April and June 2022.
The second ship will not be finished until between December 2022 and February 2023.
‘Hugely challenging year’
The coronavirus-induced lockdown has also cost an extra £3.3 million, Ms Hyslop said.
However this will not be treated as an extra cost to the project, but instead an exceptional item.
She told MSPs: “This has been a hugely challenging year for the business.
"In line with much economic activity across Europe, the Covid pandemic has essentially closed the yard for six months.
"Despite that interruption to business, much has been achieved.
"Work to complete the ferries can now proceed at full speed.
“I believe we can look to the future with confidence.”
When the extent of the overspend and delays became clear, the then finance secretary Derek Mackay blamed mismanagement by Ferguson Marine.
An inquiry by Holyrood’s rural economy and connectivity committee will take evidence from Ms Hyslop and islands minister Paul Wheelhouse tomorrow.
Former Fergusons owner Jim McColl has claimed it could cost as much as £300 million to complete the contract.
Scottish Conservatives transport spokesperson Graham Simpson said: “It’s a shambles.
The SNP Government can’t just blindly ignore their past failures and pretend it was all somebody else who caused this fiasco.
“The SNP’s repeated failures have been clouded in secrecy for far too long, and we still don’t know how much this scandal will ultimately cost Scottish people.”
Scottish Labour transport spokesperson Colin Smyth said: “This ferry fiasco strikes at the very heart of the incompetence of this Government.
“Contracts were signed in 2015 for these two ferries and we were told by the First Minister it was a fixed price of £97m for delivery in 2018.
“More than four years later, in December 2019 we were told the additional costs to complete the two ferries over and above what had already been spent was estimated to be between £110.3m and £114.4m, with delivery of one ferry by the end of 2021 and the second by October 2022.
“Now we’re told there are further cost of at least £3.3 million, albeit Covid related.
“With costs doubling, and these ferries now running five years late, it’s time the Scottish Government took some responsibility for this growing scandal.”
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.
Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app.
With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.
Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.
Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them.
By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.