THE leader of the Scottish Conservatives says a visit to Ferguson Marine helped him see how many 'errors and faults' had been made at the yard from the start of the controversial ferries project. 

Douglas Ross MSP visited Ferguson Marine and spoke to chief executive officer David Tydeman about progress on the two 'lifeline' ferries, the Glen Sannox and Glen Rosa. 

Greenock Telegraph:
The senior politician said he welcomed the opportunity for the 'useful and constructive' visit and continued to make the case for the ferries to be delivered as quickly as possible. 

Mr Ross said: "David Tydeman was very honest when we were walking around the Glen Sannox at the yard. 

"He said that changes had to be made in several areas of the ship before work could start on the project. 

"Basic pieces of machinery had been fitted incorrectly and some had to be removed just to be connected to other parts. 

"That all takes time and costs money and shows that failures made years ago are still having an impact on the construction of both ferries."

The Scottish Government recently turned down Ferguson Marine's initial request for a £25m investment in a new plating line and software to improve productivity. 

Greenock Telegraph:
Neil Gray MSP recently revealed work on the ferries had led to almost £40m in total extra costs above estimates provided by the yard in September last year. 

The proposed dates for completion are now March 31, 2024 for the Glen Sannox, and May 31, 2025 for the Glen Rosa. 

Mr Ross said the yard 'needs decisions quickly'. 

He added: "The SNP government have allowed costs to taxpayers for these ferries to spiral out of control and the dates for them setting sail have repeatedly been set back. 

"The yard should always be looking for opportunities going forward but we need the Scottish Government to act and provide what's required if the yard is going to continue going forward. 

"All we have seen is lack of action and lack of urgency from the SNP in this area."

Greenock Telegraph:
On his visit to the yard, Mr Ross also met with apprentices and thanked all employees for their hard work. 

He added: "Praise should be given to the workers. 

"Everyone I met was very professional and skilled. 

"It was very positive for me to meet people who have been at the yard for decades and people who have just joined the workforce from the local area to start their career.

"The problem has never been with the workforce; it's always been with previous management and government, and with the decisions and contracts made. 

"When the current work comes to a conclusion, the workforce need to know that there's future work for them or these skilled individuals will go elsewhere."

Mr Ross said SNP-Green ministers must provide support to 'ensure these ferries are finally brought into service for the island communities they will serve'. 

He added: "These island communities have been promised these ferries. 

"The vessels have been beset by delays and costs have spiralled to the dismay of islanders, who are desperate to see these lifeline services delivered.

"We have to get these two ferries delivered and quickly."