Report into fiasco

Ministers rebuked over handling of ferry contract

Glen Sannox ferry

Work on the two ferries continues

A Holyrood committee today says the process that led to the crisis over the delayed and over-budget Ferguson Marine ferries contract is “no longer fit for purpose”.

A year-long inquiry has resulted in the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland being accused of overseeing a “catastrophic failure” of management.

The Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity committee called for a “root and branch overhaul” of the approach to the procurement of new vessels in Scotland.

The inquiry was launched shortly before the Scottish Government’s decision to take Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited (FMEL) into public ownership following delays in the delivery of the two hybrid ferries being built at the Ferguson Marine shipyard to serve the Clyde and Hebrides network.

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MSPs were seeking to establish what lessons could be learned for the future procurement and construction of new ferries after it emerged that the cost for the completion of vessels 801 and 802 had risen from an initial fixed price of £97 million to between £192.8m and £196.8m, with the delivery of the ships delayed from 2018 to 2022 and 2023 respectively.

A 129-page report published today, highlights a litany of failings and mismanagement that include lack of due diligence over the contract by Transport Scotland and Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL), insufficient work on ferry design, lack of engagement with Islanders who depend on vessels, and a lack of due diligence from procurement company Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd. on the capabilities of the Ferguson shipyard to deliver the vessels. 

The committee was heavily critical of the Scottish government and Transport Scotland for failing to intervene more quickly when significant project planning and management problems became apparent, and believes that the Scottish government could – and should – have taken action at an earlier stage. 

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