TWO ferries being built at the state-owned Ferguson Marine shipyard in Port Glasgow have been delayed again, the company has confirmed.

Hull 801, the Glen Sannox, and the unnamed hull 802, were set to enter service in May this year and March next year respectively - but the date has slipped once more.

However, the ships – which are more than six years late and around £300m over budget – are now subject to further hold-ups, with the Glen Sannox now not expected to be completed until autumn this year, while 802 won't be ready until the end of summer 2024.

In an update to the Scottish Parliament yesterday, chief executive of Ferguson Marine David Tydeman said that 'design gaps and build errors' dating back several years continued to be found on the Sannox, resulting in a 'cascade effect' for 802.

He said: “Regrettably, we continue to find design gaps and build errors, some dating back over many years, and whilst we are dealing with them successfully as they arise, we are progressing more slowly than planned.

"We have raised a request to our client – Scottish Ministers – that they extend our ‘no later than’ delivery dates for the two ships to the end of 2023 and 2024 respectively, to ensure our contracts remain valid.

"We have also set out that we will continue with our best endeavours to deliver earlier – Glen Sannox as soon as possible in the autumn of this year and Hull 802 before late summer ‘24.”

The fresh delays have been slammed by Scottish Labour's transport spokesperson and local list MSP Neil Bibby.

The Tele columnist said: "No-one is surprised by these new delays and millions wasted.

"This is a scandal manufactured by SNP ministers – and Humza Yousaf and Kate Forbes both have their fingerprints on it.

"After all that’s gone wrong, it beggars belief that management handed themselves bonuses without anyone in the SNP government even noticing. This taxpayer-funded gravy train for senior management needs to end.

"This scandal has huge consequences for island communities and Scottish shipbuilding.

"We need an independent inquiry into this whole shameful debacle and a real plan to secure the future of this yard.

"If the SNP government had listened to the trade union from the start we wouldn’t be in this mess – they need to start now on investing in facilities to ensure future work.”

The news is the latest blow to the troubled yard, whose future was thrown into doubt earlier this week by an Audit Scotland report which also revealed that £87,000 had been paid in bonuses over 2021/22 to Ferguson Marine chiefs.