EVERY reasonable step was taken by the Scottish Government to deliver two ferries which have been hit by delays and overspends, an inquiry has heard.

Ferguson Marine was contracted to deliver two vessels for CalMac for £97 million, with an initial completion date set for 2018.

However, after the Port Glasgow yard collapsed into administration in August last year, it became clear that the already late ferries would take longer and cost more before completion.

Former economy secretary Derek Mackay told MSPs in December that the project would cost an extra £110.3m and take several years more.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mackay’s predecessor, Fiona Hyslop, said on Tuesday that the ferries will not be completed until at least April and December 2022 respectively.

Appearing at the final evidence session of the inquiry called by Mackay, islands minister Paul Wheelhouse said the Scottish Government did what it could to ensure the project was finished on time as the relationship between Ferguson Marine and ferry procurement body Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) broke down.

The inquiry was held by the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee.