A SCOTS MP has lashed out at Labour politicians for “their lack of faith” in Scottish shipyards after it emerged that the construction of two new ferries for Caledonian MacBrayne had been hit by further delays.

The ferries are being built by Ferguson Marine on the Clyde after the company won a £97 million contract from the Scottish Government.

One of the vessels, MV Glen Sannox – which will operate between Arran and Ardrossan – was launched in November and was due into service this summer.

READ MORE: CalMac’s new £100m dual-fuel ferries are hit by further delays

However, delays caused by what Ferguson Marine called technical challenges in building the ship, which can be powered by diesel or liquefied natural gas, initially put that date back to this winter.

Glen Sannox then went into dry dock for work on its bow section and the shipbuilder has since confirmed it will not be ready until next summer.

Transport Minister Michael Matheson said that while the situation was “disappointing”, the contract would eventually boost west coast ferry services.

“Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd has advised us that the first vessel, the MV Glen Sannox, will now be delivered during summer 2019, and the second vessel in spring 2020,” he said.

“While this further delay is disappointing, it is important to focus on the fact that we will have two new ships joining the fleet serving the Clyde and Hebrides network that have been built in Scotland, providing vital support to our shipbuilding industry.”

His SNP colleague Ronnie Cowan, MP for Inverclyde, said the Ferguson Marine yard should be supported in every way possible.

“In these difficult times we should be seeking to maximise every potential opportunity to create jobs in Inverclyde,” he said.

“When a local shipyard [Ferguson Marine] are bidding for work they should be aided and supported in every way possible to help them achieve a successful outcome.

“Recently, Paul Sweeney [Labour MP for Glasgow North East] decided to visit Inverclyde and then talked down Ferguson Marine in favour of BAE systems, and now Neil Bibby [Labour list MSP for West of Scotland] has decided at this stage in the bidding process to start talking up Cammell Laird.

“Their lack of faith in a Scottish yard is disappointing – their lack of commitment to Inverclyde, although regrettable, is more understandable.”

He added: “I am heartened with the ongoing Scottish Government support and to see a UK Government minister recently visiting the yard to see first-hand what a world class outfit they are.

“We are in not in a situation where we can be selective, but the best outcome for Inverclyde regarding any bid for shipbuilding is a victory for Ferguson Marine.”

Opposition politicians have criticised the delays, with Tory transport spokesperson Jamie Greene calling them a “complete shambles”; LibDem MSP Mike Rumbles highlighting passengers’ “sinking feeling”; and Labour attacking the Scottish Government.

However, Gerry Marshall, chief executive of Ferguson Marine, said: “These two dual fuel LNG vessels, are the first such vessels to be built in the UK and as such are prototypes.

“The authorities which certify the integrity and safety of the vessels and the integrity of the project have no precedent for such certification, and this part of the process has been more complex than with a standard vessel type and has impacted the delivery date.

“Overarching this however, has been the unforeseen complexities arising from our customer’s requirements throughout the project to date. These circumstances could never have been foreseen and taken into account in the original delivery dates. The vessels, which will be delivered to the new timetable and to the highest standard of quality, will become the jewels in the CalMac fleet.”