FERRY STORY: Former airport boss to lead Ferguson shipyard

Glen Sannox
Ferguson Marine is building two ferries, but delivery is more than five years late

By Democrat reporter

BBC Scotland is reporting that the Scottish government has chosen an aviation consultant as chairman of its troubled Ferguson Marine shipyard.

Andrew Miller, Prestwick Airport’s former chair, will be responsible for delivering “ministerial priorities”.

He will begin the three-year role at the Port Glasgow-based company on 1 December, with a salary of £500 per day for five days’ work each month.

Like the Ferguson shipyard, Prestwick Airport was taken into public ownership when it faced collapse in 2013.

It recently reported a third year of profit, in part because of military exercises and aid for Ukraine.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney, pictured right with Nicola Sturgeon,  said Mr Miller – a senior manager at Air New Zealand before seven years as chairman at Prestwick Airport – had a “wealth of experience” and was “clear on the strategic and commercial issues for the yard”.

“I am confident that his experience will help to deliver ministerial priorities – the completion of the two ferries, securing a future for the yard and its workforce, and supporting Scotland’s island communities that rely on this type of vessel on a daily basis,” Mr Swinney said.

He thanked interim chairman Robert Mackenzie for stepping into the role at the shipyard after Alistair Mackenzie left in April citing personal reasons.

The Ferguson shipyard is building two ferries to serve the west coast of Scotland, but their cost is now well over double the original contract price, and delivery is more than five years late.

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

The two ships, which were intended to run as dual fuel diesel/LNG (liquefied natural gas) vessels, were originally due to be delivered to CalMac in 2018 but the build has been plagued by delays and cost overruns.

However, the company said last month that one of the ferries – the Glen Sannox – would initially only operate on diesel because a “technical issue” had delayed part of the LNG system by at least nine months.

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

One comment

  1. Absolutely right sentiment to want to build ferries in Scotland.

    The money spent was money for jobs in Scotland, money spent by workers in the economy. That’s where the money went.

    Just a pity that we didn’t get two ships out of it.

    As to the building of other ships in Turkey. We’ll that’s no jobs in Scotland, no money into the Scottish economy.

    Folks should keep that in mind when they run off at the mouth. In fact, why build anything in Scotland.

    Well we’re not- ships, trains, windfarm jackets turbines and blades.

    At least when oil started out we built the rigs. Now the Norwegians deconstruct them for us.

    And we wonder why we are getting poorer, our living standards going down

    Ah well, turn up the heating and dance.

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