POLITICIANS probing the £200M CalMac ferries fiasco at Ferguson Marine have visited the Port Glasgow yard on a fact-finding tour as part of their inquiry into the debacle.

Members of Holyrood's Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee spoke with the workforce, engineers and senior managers as they continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the two long overdue and excessively over-budget vessels.

Ferguson's was bought out of administration by billionaire businessman Jim McColl in 2014 and it won a £97 million contract to build two dual-fuel ferries for CalMac the following year.

But a bitter dispute between the yard and bosses at procurement body Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd over the specifications for the ships plunged Ferguson's into a financial tailspin before the yard was nationalised by the SNP government last year.

The ferries, Glen Sannox and the as yet unnamed Hull 802, are running four years late and are set to cost double their original budget.

Committee convener Edward Mountain MSP said: "As part of its ongoing inquiry the committee has heard a range of views about how the current situation whereby there are significant delays in the delivery of the vessels and cost overruns, has arisen.

"The visit to the site gave us an opportunity not only to see the ships, but to learn more about the construction process.

"We were able to speak with current management and, importantly, the workers who have been involved in building the ships.

"This information will be very helpful as the inquiry progresses, as we aim to produce constructive recommendations for the procurement and construction of new ferries in future."

Under-fire SNP ministers have been accused at the inquiry of wasting public money after it emerged that Ferguson's submitted the most expensive bid for the work.

The Scottish Government said the ferry bids were assessed using a quality/price ratio of 50:50, and that Ferguson Marine achieved the highest score.

One witness to the inquiry has described Scotland's system for ferries procurement as 'amateur'.

MSPs are due to meet at Holyrood today in private session for the committee to 'consider its approach to the inquiry'.