FERGUSON Marine bosses have announced yet another delay to the completion of fiasco ferry Glen Sannox.

The nationalised Port Glasgow shipyard's boss David Tydeman has told MSPs that regulators have ordered last-minute design changes.

Ferguson's had previously said Glen Sannox should be operational with CalMac in spring next year, but now extra staircases will have to be installed on the ship to satisfy the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

This means her planned sea trials have been delayed until next year.

CalMac had expected Glen Sannox - the first of two ferries being built at the yard - to be handed over to them this December 2023, with sister ship Hull 802 to follow in December 2024.

An update on what the extra cost will be, and revised delivery date, is to be provided next month - with the bill already sitting at over £300m.

The same changes will also have to be made to Hull 802.

In his letter to members of the Holyrood transport committee, Mr Tydeman said: "In my [previous] letter to you, 30th June, I mentioned some emerging issues with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the deferral of dry-docking plans for Glen Sannox to late December.

'I am aware that the press has picked up these issues and write to you now to provide further information.

'The MCA have reassessed the application of 'cargo ship' rules to the crew spaces of passenger ferries (on a broader basis than just Ferguson and Glen Sannox/802) and for the last two months we have been working to close the impacts of this and some other approvals issues.

'We have been designing and planning the necessary modifications to some doorways in crew corridors and three additional staircases between decks 5, 6 & 7.

'We have one issue to finalise and hope to reach final agreement with the MCA within the next two weeks so that we can carry out all the modifications before Glen Sannox moves to the dry-dock just before Christmas.

'However, this will mean that sea-trials will move into the first quarter of the new year and the commissioning of the LNG systems at Troon (which must be done after dry-docking) will also move to after Christmas.'

Mr Tydeman says yard management are meeting weekly with key individuals from Scottish Government, Transport Scotland, CMAL and CalMac to jointly monitor the commissioning, trials and handover programme.

His letter added: 'We will need to maintain some flexibility for Glen Sannox to operate from the quayside at the shipyard during January and February and with this in mind, we will defer the launch of 802 to the next high tide window towards the end of February, perhaps early March.'

The ferries were meant to have been finished in 2018 for a cost of £97m but the project turned into a shambles.

Mr Tydeman says in his latest letter to the committee: 'From March we plan for 802 to use the FMPG quayside and Glen Sannox to complete trials and handover further down the river.

'I will provide a further update on costs and delivery dates for both vessels in my quarterly report at the end of September.'

Meanwhile Mr Tydeman also addressed the recent walkouts by electrical contractors after a series of electric shock incidents at the shipyard.

The Tele revealed earlier this month that workers had been taken to hospital following a number of incidents and that the Health & Safety Executive was to make an emergency visit to the Newark yard.

Mr Tydeman stated: 'There has also been media coverage of some safety issues on site, and I am pleased to advise that following a constructive and positive meeting with the HSE last week, the HSE confirmed the appropriateness of our engineering and administration controls, particularly for electrical safety.

'Whilst the publicised stand down by our electrical contractor has lost some time over the past weeks, this can be managed within the timelines for completing the commissioning and MCA related issues as above.'