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Displaying items by tag: Ferguson Marine

Shipyard Ferguson Marine which is owned by the Scottish Government, has ploughed nearly £3m into two companies without going to competitive tender to help resolve the fiasco over the delivery of two new (island) lifeline ferries, the Herald on Sunday can reveal.

A £2.12m contract has been given to an offshore company to complete even more design changes for one long delayed vessel due to service Scotland's busiest ferry crossing which adds is to the Isle of Arran, where the 'year-round' operated Ardrossan-Brodick route is the nearest CalMac crossing to N.Ireland.

The taxpayer-funded award has been made to Isle of Man-based International Contract Engineering Ltd to supply engineering servies for the stalled construction of MV Glenn Sannox to "correct and complete" the design.

The Isle of Man, a self-governing territory that is part of the British Crown but enjoys separate autonomy, since its days as an Edwardian seaside resort has more recently has been accused of selling companies' escape from taxes and transparency.

Details of the taxpayer spend comes after it emerged £777,500 was given to Kirkintilloch-based Alliance Project Controls Ltd to supervise the construction work. That contract also did not go out to competitive tender.

For further reading on this ongoing shipyard saga story click here. 

Published in Ports & Shipping

The busiest ferry crossing in Scotland, reports The Herald, has ground to a halt for safety reasons in a move that could lead to six weeks of disruption over a busy school holiday period.

Fifteen sailings between Brodick on the Isle of Arran and Ardrossan have been cancelled since Sunday and the first sailings of tomorrow have already been dropped because of a fault with the aging ferry's mooring equipment.

On Tuesday there were no sailings at all during the day, with the first seven journeys cancelled. Only the 4.40pm from Brodick and another to return to the island were able to operate as CalMac said it needed to berth on the island overnight.

The first sailings of tomorrow (Thursday, 12 March) have already been dropped with no news of any further crossings expected till after a 10am review. Travellers are being warned all services are liable to disruption or cancellation at short notice.

On top of that, a fault with both mezzanine decks, means the 1000 passenger and 110 car capacity of the vessel will be cut until repairs can be carried out.

The latest calamity to hit CalMac's MV Caledonian Isles has angered islanders who have demanded a long overdue temporary replacement to allow vital supplies and drugs to reach the largest island in the Firth of Clyde (Arran: dubbed Scotland in miniature).

It comes as CalMac bosses have said the £300m ferries "shambles" at Ferguson Marine's shipyard (see related last story) in Port Glasgow is causing knock-on 'major disruption' for island communities up and down the west coast of Scotland.

Dual fuel replacement Arran ferry Glen Sannox and her as yet unnamed sister were due to enter service in mid-2018 but the calamitous contract has doubled in price and work on the vessels won't be finished until at least 2022.

Ferguson Marine in Port Glasgow was handed a £97 million contract to build two the ferries in 2015.

For more about the beleagured newbuild pair and performance of CalMac sailings in 2019, click here

Published in Ferry

Scottish National Party ministers, The Herald writes, have extended the deadline for finding a buyer for the last civilian shipyard on the Clyde.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay told MSPs the marketing of Ferguson Marine in Port Glasgow could take 50 per cent longer than anticipated.

The business, which employs 300 workers, went into administration last month after a £97m contract for two CalMac ferries ran two years late schedule and £100m over budget.

When Mr Mackay took the yard under public control on August 16, he said ministers would nationalise it unless there was a viable commercial offer within four weeks.

However in an update at Holyrood, he marketing it would now last another two to four weeks. He said the priority for ministers was safeguarding jobs and finishing the boats.

He said: “The Scottish Government will at all times remain open to discussions with any parties interested in securing a viable commercial future for the yard. But we will also explore the option of keeping the yard in public ownership, and how this might protect sustainable shipbuilding on the lower Clyde.”

For further reading click this link 

Published in Ports & Shipping

Additional jobs,The Scotsman writes, could be created at newly nationalised Ferguson Marine in order to complete the two vessels which nearly sank the shipyard, Scotland's economy secretary Derek Mackay has announced.

Speaking after the first meeting of the Programme Review Board, set up by the Scottish Government to run the yard, Mr Mackay suggested that workers who had been made redundant as Ferguson Marine faced administration, may be rehired.

However, he admitted that the Board had not yet looked at the firm's books, but said the aim was to ensure the ferries were completed at the "lowest possible cost to the taxpayer".

The Board was established last week to rescue the Port Glasgow shipyard as it faced administration after a huge over-run on a contract to complete two Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) ferries. Ministers effectively nationalised the shipyard under an agreement with the administrators which will see them buy the facility if no private bid emerges within the next month.

The yard, which employs 300 staff, had faced closure five years ago, but was saved by SNP economic adviser and billionaire businessman Jim McColl, and then won the £97m public contract to build the two ferries for Caledonian MacBrayne. However as costs mounted, the Scottish Government loaned £45m to Ferguson Marine in an attempt to get the ferries completed - money it may now have to write off.

For further reading click here on the much delayed duel-fuel ferries destined to serve the Isle of Arran and on the Uig Triangle services.

Published in Ports & Shipping

On the Clyde the Ferguson shipyard in Port Glasgow has been nationalised by the Scottish government.

Ministers reports BBC News, will now operate the yard under a management agreement with administrators, which will see the Scottish government buy the facility if no private buyer is found within four weeks.

Ferguson has been involved in a dispute with the Scottish government over the construction of two ferries for CalMac.

About 300 people work at the yard.

The deal means the yard will no longer be owned by industrialist Jim McColl, who could not persuade ministers to pay more than the £97m contract price for the disputed ferries.

The agreement also means work on the CalMac ferries, and other contracts, can continue while efforts to find a commercial buyer get under way.

Administrator Deloitte described the ferry contract as being "materially behind schedule and over budget".

More on this latest development can be read here

Published in Ports & Shipping

In a decision by the Scottish government it is "ready and willing" to take Ferguson shipyard into public ownership, Economy Secretary Derek Mackay has announced.

As BBC News reports, the minister said this was to avert the yard's closure with the loss of 350 jobs, and to complete two ferries being built there for Cal Mac west coast services.

The move follows legal notice being served that the business faces administration by the end of this week.

Mr Mackay said the government remained open to other investors.

But in a statement, he added that it was essential to act without delay, to secure the yard, its workforce and the unfinished ships.

A letter has been sent to Ferguson Marine, and its sole shareholder, industrialist Jim McColl, saying the Scottish government is hopeful that directors and creditors "recognise the importance of completing that transfer as quickly and smoothly as possible".

More here on the shipyard story.

Published in Ports & Shipping

The Independent reports, around 350 jobs are at risk after the directors of a shipyard on the River Clyde in Port Glasgow served notice of their intent to go into administration, five years after it staved off closure.

The decision was taken ”with great regret and disappointment”, said Gerry Marshall, the chief executive of Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited.

He added: “This decision has not been taken lightly, but the directors do not consider there to be any other options in the current circumstances. However, the directors will continue to support the shareholder and the Scottish Government to realise a positive outcome for the business and its employees.”

The shipyard was previously in administration five years ago until it was bought by Clyde Blowers Capital (CBC).

Ferguson Marine won the £97m fixed price contract to build the MV Glenn Sannox and a second Hull 802 for CalMac, which is due to be deployed in the Outer Hebrides.

The shipyard’s parent company, owned by Jim McColl, also criticised Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) and the Scottish Government in the wake of the move.

To read further click here on this development. 

Published in Ports & Shipping

Jim McColl has failed to convince the Scottish Government to take a stake in the last commercial shipyard on the Clyde.

The near-billionaire, The Herald writes, was understood to be ready to take a multi-million-pound “hit” on his investment at Ferguson Marine in Port Glasgow.

And this week he convinced Labour and SNP local to back his scheme in the hope of securing 350 jobs after their current contracts to make ferries ran in to cost over-runs and contractual disputes.

Ministers consider nationalising shipyard owned by billionaire adviser to Nicola Sturgeon (click here for more). 

The Herald understands Mr McColl and his Clyde Blowers Capital or CBC felt they had legal advice that assuaged concerns by civil servants over an equity partnership.

However, a Scottish Government spokesman said: “We share the determination to ensure a strong, long term future for Fergusons.

For more click here including a related article on the yard which predicts a loss of £44m on a pair of newbuild dual-fuel ferries for CalMac. 

Published in Ports & Shipping

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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