A MAJOR recruitment drive at Ferguson's to help complete two heavily delayed Caledonian MacBrayne ferries has been welcomed by the contract's Port Glasgow-based provider.

Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) hailed the creation of 120 new jobs specifically to focus on the completion of MV Glen Sannox and the as-yet unnamed 'Hull 802' as 'encouraging and positive'.

The Telegraph told last week how Ferguson's was taking on extra staff as turnaround boss Tim Hair intensifies work on the dual fuel ferries project and works to secure the long-term future of the shipyard.

As well as the new jobs — which will transform the yard into a seven-day-a-week operation — there has also been significant investment in infrastructure, including a new £600,000 tower crane, pictured, which has been installed in recent days.

Mr Hair — who has a £110 million budget to get Ferguson's fit for the future — said: "There has been a huge amount of work behind the scenes to sort out underlying problems.

"This jobs announcement is a milestone in the development of the yard."

Mr Hair was appointed by the Scottish Government 18 months ago after ministers stepped in to nationalise Ferguson's.

The move came after a £97m contract to build the two dual-fuel ferries, awarded to the yard under the ownership of billionaire businessman Jim McColl, turned sour.

A CMAL spokesperson said: "The jobs boost at the shipyard is welcome news — for the local area and of course, for our dual fuel ferries project.

"The additional resources will hopefully lead to acceleration of production and positive momentum towards completion of the vessels and that's something we are sure island communities will also be pleased to see.

"In addition, as a neighbouring Inverclyde business, it's encouraging to see positive changes and growth that will support a long-term future for the shipyard and for shipbuilding in Scotland."

The installation of the new 42m crane follows the removal of the 31m tall one in October after 37 years.

It will offer Ferguson's more scope to move material and equipment within the yard.

Mr Hair said: "The tower crane is an essential part of the shipbuilding process and the old one has served the yard well for many years.

"The replacement crane, at a cost of over half a million pounds, is a major capital investment in Ferguson and a clear demonstration of the commitment of the Scottish Government to the long-term future of the yard."