PRESSURE is today mounting on the Scottish Government to guarantee the future for the crisis-stricken Ferguson shipyard in Port Glasgow amid fears that it is at risk of financial collapse before the two fiasco ferries are completed.

There is no work beyond the delivery of the heavily delayed and over-budget Glen Sannox and Glen Rosa - and a decision by the Government to turn down a request for a £25m cash injection to allow the yard to compete for new orders has been met with astonishment. 

Meanwhile, despite calls from within the SNP for a contract to build a fleet of seven small replacement ferries for CalMac to be directly awarded to the yard, wellbeing and economy secretary Neil Gray has stopped short of giving such an assurance.

And Audit Scotland has warned that Ferguson's future remains uncertain. 

Ferguson said its request for more capital investment was aimed at putting it on a 'firm footing' to secure long-term projects.

Greenock Telegraph: Wellbeing Economy Secretary Neil Gray

But Mr Gray says that the yard’s business plan would fail to meet a ‘key legal requirement’ and said that the government were working with the Port Glasgow firm to ‘refine’ their proposals.

READ MORE: Ferguson Marine fails in bid for millions in future ScotGov support

The requested sum would pay for a new plating line, burning tables and computer software, which it is said would raise productivity.

Doubt over the yard's future, which centred around plans to carry out work for BAE Systems on the Royal Navy’s Type 26 frigates and securing an order to build a replacement fleet of small vessels for CalMac.

Greenock Telegraph:

Inverclyde’s MSP Stuart McMillan was among those who suggested that a direct contract award could help the struggling shipyard.

He said: “The Scottish Government had a huge challenge on its hands when it saved Ferguson Marine, but it was right to step in to save the jobs and get the current vessels completed.

“The SNP in government have invested millions of taxpayers money to achieve these aims, and I have never shied away from asking the Scottish Government for further investment where it has been clear that this is needed to help the yard become competitive.

“I have written to the Cabinet Secretary following his statement, because I have recently been informed that reconfiguring the yard would enable Ferguson’s to undertake the Small Vessel Replacement Programme.

“It’s therefore vital that a direct award is considered as this would ensure the yard has a pipeline of work, securing its future, and ultimately delivering ferries that will benefit our island communities.

“Any capital investment could then be put in place over a longer period.

“This is one of the lessons that needs to be learned from past mistakes.”

Greenock Telegraph:

In August a cross-party letter was sent to Mr Gray calling for the Scottish Government to urgently approve the yard’s funding request.

Mr McMillan, his party colleague and Inverclyde’s MP Ronnie Cowan and Inverclyde Council leader Stephen McCabe were among those who signed the letter, which was supported by the GMB Union.

The letter stated that failing to make a decision on the funding would delay the date by which a new plating line can be in place by several months due to a two-year lead in time required by its manufacturer.

The Tele understands that a request would have to be made before the end of the year for the plating line to be ready by 2026.

Greenock Telegraph: Could Ferguson Marine Engineering be turned around with orders for smaller vessels?

The news comes after an annual audit report from Audit Scotland revealed that the shipyard had no contracted work beyond the CalMac Ferries Glen Sannox and Glen Rosa, with the government only committed to a further 12 months of funding.

The cost of completing both ferries - which are already five years late and three times the original budget - is forecast to top £400 million by their anticipated handover dates of March next year (Glen Sannox) and May 2025 (Glen Rosa).

In response to the latest development, a Ferguson Marine (Port Glasgow) spokesperson said: “Our business plan is focussed on two missions: to secure further work as part of the Type 26 frigate programme for BAE, and to build a fleet of small ferries for CMAL.  

“Our position on that has not changed since we submitted the plan in Q1 of 2023.

“Given the announcement in parliament by Mr Gray, we will now reassess our plans to upgrade the yard infrastructure and install specialist equipment to ensure that FMPG is equipped to compete most effectively for commercial tender work.

“This plan requires between £20m and £25m of capital investment to put us on a firm footing to secure these long-term projects.   

“We will discuss options with Scottish Government officials as soon as possible and, on behalf the workforce, we welcome Mr Gray’s commitment to ensuring that optimal solutions are identified to support the shipyard’s future.”