DEPUTY first minister John Swinney says he is eager to see a speedy resolution to the crisis engulfing Ferguson's in Port Glasgow having fought to save the yard five years ago.

Mr Swinney, along with Inverclyde Council leader Stephen McCabe, led a dedicated task force set up to save Ferguson's after the yard went into administration in 2014 when he was finance secretary.

He told the Tele he does not want to go down the same route again.

Ferguson Marine was taken over by wealthy businessman Jim McColl just weeks after it went into administration in August 2014 but its future is now mired in uncertainty once again in a row with Scottish Government-owned Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) over a delayed £97 million contract for two new CalMac ferries.

The deputy first minister was speaking during a visit to Cappielow on Monday to see first-hand the work of the award-winning Greenock Morton Community Trust.

Mr Swinney told the Tele: "The government is keen to work to get a solution to safeguard the future of Ferguson's and ensure the completion of the two vessels under development. "Personally, I was immediately involved in the work to safeguard Ferguson's in 2014 so I want to see the continuation of shipbuilding at Ferguson's."

Mr Swinney would not be drawn on the current status of the stand-off between the shipyard and CMAL, which is also based in Port Glasgow.

The firms are disputing the extent of changes made to the designs of MV Glen Sannox and Hull 802, as it is currently known, which are almost 17 and 23 months late, respectively, and who should foot the final bill, which is now expected to cost double the original £97m contract price.

Mr McColl, who owns the yard through his company Clyde Blowers Capital, offered to pay half - around £50m - if the government stumped up the rest in return for equity in the business but ministers quickly rejected the proposals, saying it did not offer value for money for the taxpayer.

The situation is further complicated by the fact Ferguson's owes the government £45m worth of loans.

Should the company default on repaying the money, it is thought the government could nationalise the yard for just £1.