The first steel was cut in early 2016, and the first complete ferry should have been delivered in 2018. Instead, today the Transport Minister announced in parliament that the first ship will not be delivered until late 2021, and the second not until the end of 2022. Hull 801 (now named ‘Glen Sannox’) and hull 802 are also now expected to cost more than £200 million, more than double the initial £97 million contract price. (To put that in context, the previous most expensive ship was the Loch Seaforth at £42 million, and the smaller Finlaggan cost £25 million in 2011.)
The Glen Sannox is bound for Arran, and hull 802 is bound for Uig, to serve Tarbert and Lochmaddy. But this delay will be affecting our service too – it means that no ships can be ‘cascaded’ through the network to relieve other pinch points – like Oban-Craignure.
Oban – Craignure is the most congested route in the entire CalMac Network (see our stats here that reveal it), and it was planned that the MV Hebrides would move from Uig to relieve the Coruisk in summer. This will not now be possible until the summer of 2023.
So – prepare for at least three more summers of congestion and being unable to travel when you want to. Three more summers where tourist businesses are loosing trade because visitors can’t get a ferry booking.
Failure at Ferguson’s has been matched by failure at Argyll & Bute Council however – we don’t have a new ferry, and neither do we have a pier capable of berthing it. The council therefore have a new deadline for the upgrade of Craignure pier: summer 2023….
You’ll find the full story in the papers on Thursday. If you want a detailed read about the state of Fergusons and 801/802, you can download the full report produced by the now state-owned company here:
<<edit 19.12.19. Scottish Government have removed from their website the version of the report that we posted here yesterday. The below link is to an updated version. We have also added a link to a long collection of correspondence, meeting minutes and so on that have also been published>>