The drama surrounding the much delayed new ferries for Caledonian MacBrayne continues to rumble on with the latest, not unsurprising, news that Scotland’s first LNG-powered ferry Glen Sannox will not meet her rescheduled delivery date of June this year.
No new delivery date has been announced.
The troubled dual-fuel ship and her as yet unnamed sister are under construction by Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd (FMEL) for Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) for operation by Caledonian MacBrayne – Glen Sannox on the Ardrossan to Brodick service and the second vessel on the Skye triangle service.
Scottish Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, said the June 2019 delivery date for the Glen Sannox “now cannot be met.” At present, the ferry is currently 13 months behind schedule with sister ship, hull 802, 19 months late. Both are designed to carry 1,000 passengers, 127 cars or 16 trucks.
Both FMEL and CMAL are in a legal dispute of claimed major costs overruns on Glen Sannox. FMEL say the vessels are proving to be far costlier than expected because of major changes to the vessels requested by the operator. The firm says it expects to lose £40 million on the deal. CMAL says that only “minor” alterations have been made and that they have already paid nearly £1.5m for those from a £3m contingency fund – on top of the entire £97m budget for the contract.
Wheelhouse says the delay was “extremely disappointing when the Scottish Government has already provided loans to FMEL totalling some £45m to develop the shipyard and support completion of these vessels”. He added: “Work has been commissioned with external consultants to examine all the options available to ensure best value delivery of the vessels and the long-term future of the shipyard at Port Glasgow.”
The minister said the government was now “formally seeking a new programme and cost to complete both vessels”.