SUPPLIER issues and bad weather could cause further delays to much-delayed and over-budget ferries, the Ferguson Marine shipyard has said.

CalMac had expected Glen Sannox - the first of two ferries being built at the government-owned shipyard - to be handed over in December 2023, and Hull 802 in December 2024.

An update in August from Ferguson Marine had raised further fears that the Glen Sannox would not be available for the start of the 2024 summer season, and now a letter from the chief executive has described further challenges.

David Tydeman notified Edward Mountain, convener of Holyrood’s net zero, energy and transport committee, that “supplier issues” could cause “up to two months delay” in a letter on Thursday.

READ MORE: Scottish ferry further delayed due to 'last-minute' changes

He wrote: “In response to your request for interim updates as issues arise, I advise that there are some supplier issues around the commissioning of the LNG systems which could, if they cannot be mitigated, cause up to two months delay.

“We are urgently exploring mitigating actions and will update by the end of January 2024 following consideration by the board at its January meeting.”

Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy Neil Gray (below) said it was “extremely concerning” that a review of the timetable and budget was being undertaken.

The National:

Final dry docking and trials for the Glen Sannox were scheduled to be completed by the first quarter of 2024, however, Tydeman notified the committee that “bad weather has prevented the ship moving to the dock this week”.

He added: “Due to advance bookings for the dry dock for other vessels, we will now have to take our turn, proceed with the trials programme in January to March, and have booked the earliest available dry dock dates of April 3-7."

Gray said he noted the delays with “deep disappointment,” adding: “I have continued to impress upon the CEO that any further slippage in the program would have a considerable impact on the island communities.”