THE delivery of one of two overdue CalMac ferries has been delayed, the state-owned shipyard constructing the vessels has confirmed.

Ferguson Marine, which is building Hulls 801 – also known as the MV Glen Sannox – and 802 on behalf of the national ferry company, has said the first boat is expected to be delivered before May 2023 but that the second ship will not be delivered on time.

After previous delays, Hull 802 was intended to be up and running by the end of 2023, but Ferguson Marine has said it will not be finished until early 2024.

It means the second boat will be delivered around six years late, while the first boat will be around five years overdue. There is a small risk the first boat may be delayed further by one or two months, the company added.

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Ferguson Marine, in a letter to Holyrood transport committee chair Edward Mountain, acknowledged the update was "disappointing” and outlined the reasons for the delay.

The firm, owned by the Scottish Government since it was rescued from administration in 2018, said the delay could be seen as a “positive” and indicative of a “more professional approach” which saw the company move away from the disorder which plagued the construction of the first vessel.

In his letter, sent on Wednesday, Ferguson CEO David Tydeman said the construction of the Glen Sannox had “suffered” because of deficiencies in design, skills and productivity in the yard, adding: “Whilst the revised plans for 802 are predicated on soon having a robust package updated from learning on Glen Sannox, planning the right skills available, and hence the focus will be on productivity”.

He added the total costs for the Glen Sannox are not expected to exceed £101 million, while the 802 should not cost more than £108.6m – £209.6m total.

This is lower than Audit Scotland’s predicted total cost of the project, forecast in March this year, of “at least £240m” but £112.6m higher than the initial £97m fixed price contract awarded to CalMac.

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The two ships are at the centre of the so-called ferries fiasco, which has seen questions raised about the reasons for awarding the contract to CalMac, despite the grave misgivings of senior civil servants about the taxpayer being liable for the cost of delays.

The BBC has reported that leaked documents seen by the broadcaster suggest the process for awarding the contract was "rigged”.

Asked about the matter on Wednesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there was “no evidence” there was any criminality involved but noted that was not a call for her to make, in response to a question from Tory MSP Graham Simpson about whether it was time to call in the police over the scandal.