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Hebrides News


A new £48.5 million ferry for the Skye triangle route will not be delivered on time.


Building of the modern 102 metre long vessel has been held up at the Ferguson Marine shipyard on the Clyde.


Earmarked for the North Uist and Harris runs, the ship was due to be handed over next year.


But “highly challenging” engineering issues” with building the UK’s first ferries to run on both liquefied natural gas and marine gas oil means she may not be ready until 2019.


Also delayed is her sister ship, MV Glen Sannox, which is being launched at Port Glasgow by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Port Glasgow on Tuesday.


The Sannox’s original May handover for the Arran route is now pushed back until an unspecified date next winter.


Ferguson Marine chief executive, Jim McColl, highlighted the “extremely complex” difficulties involved in the “exciting and ambitious” build is disrupting the original timetable.


“Highly challenging engineering issues arising from the unique nature” of the dual fuel ferry project presents “unforeseeable challenges.”


Mr McColl added: “However, the experience and knowledge gained during this project will be of enormous benefit to the competitiveness of Scottish shipbuilding in the future as technology continues to develop to meet tightening clean energy legislation.”


Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “It’s disappointing to find out the new ferries will be delayed.


“The vessels have important roles to play, not just providing a vital link between the islands and the mainland but also allowing Cal Mac to reconfigure their fleet around the Clyde and Hebrides network to the benefit of other communities.


He stressed: “It is now important that all parties involved in the project refocus and make sure the ferries are delivered to this new timescale.


Mr Yousaf is commissioning a review by an industry expert into the delays to “explore whether any time can be recovered and seek more specific delivery dates for the two vessels.”


He added: “We should view this news in the wider context of the efforts that the workers and management at Ferguson Marine have made to construct two innovative vessels, in parallel with the investment that has taken place to modernise the shipyard.”


The ferries will be owned by Scottish Government company, CMAL, which will lease them to Cal Mac.


Both vessels will have a lifetime of over 30 years and could operate in a wide number of harbours and routes.


Designed to run on either marine diesel or LNG gas, the more efficient engines will cut down on CO2, sulphur and nitreous oxides emissions.


The ferry building contract provided a welcomed lifeline for the Ferguson shipyard which fell into administration with financial problems in 2014.


Millionaire businessman Jim McColl, took over the business, rehired staff and announced expansion plans.

New ferry for Lochmaddy / Tarbert delayed

20 November 2017