THE new boss of Ferguson shipyard has predicted a brighter future after years of controversy surrounding delays to the construction of two CalMac ferries. 

MV Glen Sannox returned to the Port Glasgow shipyard on Tuesday following three weeks of work in dry dock. 

The ship and another ferry are five years late, which has compounded problems for the ageing CalMac fleet. 

Ferguson Marine chief executive David Tydeman had previously said he was confident both ships would be delivered next year. 

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Tydeman, who took over as Ferguson Marine boss earlier this year, said they were “on programme” to meet the latest delivery schedule for Glen Sannox of between March and May next year with Hull 802 due to be finished by the end of 2023. 

The two large ferries, which are dual fuel diesel/LNG (liquified natural gas) vessels were intended to be delivered by CalMac in 2018 but construction was hampered by delays and cost overruns. 

The shipyard collapsed back into administration and was nationalised in 2019 amid a dispute between former owner Jim McColl and the Government’s ferries agency CMAL, who both blamed each other for the problems. 

Hull 802 is currently still on the slipway but has had far more equipment pre-installed prior to launch. 

The ship is expected to be far heavier than the Glen Sannox when it first entered the water in 2018. 

Tydeman was insistent the shipyard is now in much better shape.

“We have the opportunity starting with 802 over the next year to show we are as good as we were 10 years ago,” he said. 

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Despite the difficulties with the current CalMac ships, the yard is hopeful of future work for the state-run ferry operator, particularly for smaller vessels which are similar to ferries the yard has delivered successfully in the past. 

Tydeman said plans for seven smaller CalMac vessels along with Ministry of Defence work could potentially provide a “solid base” of work for the next five to 10 years. 

Tydeman continued: “They are exactly in our sweet spot of what we could do well. 

“We’ve just got to price them properly and deliver them on time – and win some hearts and minds to give us that contract. 

The latest work to Glen Sannox, carried out at Dales Marine in Greenock, involved the propulsion systems, seals and bow doors whilst the ship was also given a fresh coat of paint. 

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The next key milestone is the testing of the main engine and generators, scheduled to take place this autumn.

Tydeman added: “It’s all internal now, we’ve bought everything we need, we’ve got the plan for finishing the piping, the electrics, the mechanical connections – we’re gradually commissioning system by system.”

Glen Sannox will be part of the busy Arran service while the still-unnamed hull 802 is expected to serve the Skye, North Uist and Harris route.