Ferguson Marine is set to miss its deadlines again for delivery of the two already overdue CalMac ferries.
The nationalised shipyard in Port Glasgow gave an update on the construction of the vessels in a report submitted to the Scottish Parliament’s Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee, noting that the coronavirus crisis and shortages of local skilled labour has further hit delivery schedules and costs.
These factors have created a total 15-week delay in the construction of both vessels.
As a result, MV Glen Sannox is scheduled to be delivered between July 2022 and September 2022, while Hull 802 is scheduled to be delivered between April 2023 and July 2023.
The pandemic caused six months of disruption last year and productivity has continued to be impacted due to a further shutdown in January 2021, alongside the introduction of additional safety measures.
The timeline impact of ongoing disruption has been calculated as seven weeks, with additional costs of £1m, which reflects the update given to Parliament in March this year.
It brings the total Covid-19 costs to £4.3m, which is treated as an exceptional item and does not affect the overall project budget – which remains stable and unchanged at £110.3m.
Recruitment challenges since late last year have caused a delay of eight weeks, as the shortage of local skilled labour meant that Ferguson Marine had to meet resource requirements by subcontracting smaller fabrications to Scottish businesses – which has supported 25 jobs – and introducing overseas workers.
The report also outlined progress to date, including a milestone in the build of MV Glen Sannox, with the completion of structural work.
Progress is visible with the installation of a reworked funnel and newly constructed mast, as well as completion of the structure around the stern and inside the hull.
Remedial work has been completed on hull paintwork and the first layers of protective paint have been applied to the aluminium superstructure.
Completion of the structure makes way for outfitting of the vessel, which includes the installation of 10km of pipework and equipment, plus the creation of public spaces and cabins and full furnishing.
Tim Hair, turnaround director at Ferguson Marine, said: “I know the further delay to the project will be a disappointment to island communities and others who await the arrival of the new ferries – there remains a lot of work to do on the vessels, but it is important to recognise the level of progress too, as well as the significant operational improvements we have implemented to introduce robust and effective business processes.
“The past year has been extremely challenging; we’ve been working under the restrictions and pressure of a global pandemic, and recruitment has proved difficult, with the pool of skilled workers insufficient to meet our resource requirements.
“However, we now enter a new phase of production – we have reached an important turning point from reworking the past to building the future,” he continued, adding: “We are doing everything possible to deliver the dual fuel ferry programme, improve productivity, secure contracts for future vessels, and protect local jobs.”
Don’t miss the latest headlines with our twice-daily newsletter – sign up here for free.