I visited Port Glasgow and I decided to use my drone to take a look at the controversial ferries being built at the Ferguson Marine yard in the town.

The following is just a bit of background on the ships themselves and what’s happening with them. The politics of the issue isn’t my concern, you can read about that side of the controversy elsewhere. 

The first ship, MV Glen Sannox, was initially expected to enter service in summer 2018. The Glen Sannox was launched in November 2017 but the vessel’s bulbous bow was not fit for purpose at the time of the launch, and only fitted to be able to claim “milestone payments”.

It was also widely reported that the bridge windows were painted on and that the funnels were not operational and just placed on for the launch. In 2020, the ship was towed to Greenock for remedial work including the replacement of the bulbous bow. Delivery is now May 2023.

The second ship is ‘Hull 802’. Hull 802 was to be launched in 2018 and to enter service the following year. In December 2019, estimates suggested that the ship would be delivered to CMAL in summer 2022. That will not happen.

Delays were caused due to the pandemic and shortages of skilled labour. Last year, the delivery of Hull 802 was rescheduled for July 2023. Later, further delays saw the delivery date slip once more to its current October–December 2023.

Together, the two ferries will be around five years late and cost at least £240 million – two and half times the original price. That being said, progress is now being made (especially on Hull 802) and the project appears to be back on track.

You can read about the recent progress on Hull 802 directly from Ferguson Marine by clicking here.

Here’s a compilation of every bit of video footage I captured, enjoy!

What’s happened recently?

Ferguson shipyard, which had hoped to take part in the build of new frigates but was unable to due to issues during the build of two ferries, recently announced a further delay to the ferries.

Scottish ferries delayed again after cabling mistake

It is understood that anywhere between 400 and 900 cables are to be stripped out on ‘Hull 801’ and ‘Hull 802’, some more than 100 metres long.

Why did I mention frigates?

Then Defence Secretary Michael Fallon visited the Ferguson Marine shipyard at Port Glasgow in 2017 where he remarked upon the opportunity for the Clyde yard to build the new frigates. Babcock, Thales, BMT, Harland & Wolff and Ferguson Marine had teamed up to form ‘Team 31’ a consortium to bid for the Type 31 Frigate.

Babcock CEO Archie Bethel said:

“Team 31 will allow Babcock and Thales to take forward the key lessons from the Aircraft Carrier Alliance and apply them in a new and highly capable team with Harland & Wolff, BMT and Ferguson Marine.”

While Babcock eventually won the bid, Ferguson Marine was no longer able to recieve any work due to issues at the yard. After Harland & Wolff and Ferguson Marine both collapsed into administration, Bethel told the Financial Times that both yards would still “get a chance to bid” but the company “would not risk the programme” subcontracting work out to them.

Mr Bethel later pointed out that Babcock had the capacity to do the work itself at Rosyth, meaning it didn’t have to rely on other yards and said that Babcock had won the bid on the basis of the work being done “100 per cent at Rosyth”, adding that with the exception of France’s Thales, “none of our members were risk-sharing”. He also said that the yards would be welcome to bid again should the issues be sorted and they “pass the same hurdles that any suppliers have to pass in terms of financial security and security of supply. Assuming that [any] new owners can do that, they will be included in the process.”

In short, issues at the Ferguson Marine yard with the ferries meant they could no longer take part in the Type 31 frigate programme alongside Babcock with the frigate now being built entirely at Rosyth. The delay to the ferries has cost the Port Glasgow shipyard work on new frigates.

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
55 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
farouk
farouk
12 days ago

Having a butchers at Georges video (have to admit really impressed with the quality) which I followed up with visit to Google maps for a topographical look down at the Dock Yard, I have to ask do they have the space to build a Type 31. The ship still getting built is 102 metres long, a Type 31 is 137 metres long using the size of the cars parked up just in front of that ship as a datum and say they are 4 metres long (just to be on the safe side) A type 31 with its backside touching water… Read more »

Opera Snapshot_2022-05-12_170941_www.google.com.png
Last edited 12 days ago by farouk
LongTime
LongTime
12 days ago
Reply to  farouk

I like this Google earth function

Ok file didn’t upload but if you go on Google earth it has a tape measure function

Last edited 12 days ago by LongTime
farouk
farouk
12 days ago
Reply to  LongTime

Thanks:

Opera Snapshot_2022-05-12_183208_www.google.co.uk.png
Nathan Mooney
Nathan Mooney
12 days ago
Reply to  LongTime

One man’s car is another man’s tape measure

Uninformed Civvy Lurker
Uninformed Civvy Lurker
12 days ago
Reply to  farouk

They aren’t building Type 31 there.
Babcock are building them in the Frigate Factory at Rosyth.

farouk
farouk
12 days ago

UCL wrote:

“”They aren’t building Type 31 there. Babcock are

building them in the Frigate Factory at Rosy””

I was thinking out loud to this statement above:
“”Then Defence Secretary Michael Fallon visited the Ferguson Marine shipyard at Port Glasgow in 2017 where he remarked upon the opportunity for the Clyde yard to build the new frigates. Babcock, Thales, BMT, Harland & Wolff and Ferguson Marine had teamed up to form ‘Team 31’ a consortium to bid for the Type 31 Frigate.”2

Last edited 12 days ago by farouk
Uninformed Civvy Lurker
Uninformed Civvy Lurker
12 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Oh. Right. Sorry. I get what you mean now. My bad.

Cheers.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
12 days ago
Reply to  farouk

I bet it would be to build blocks not the whole frigate probably. Guessing

Jon
Jon
12 days ago
Reply to  farouk

I assumed that they would have built modules to be assembled in Rosyth, in much the same way the carriers were. There would have been no need to fit the whole frigate there, just slices.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
11 days ago
Reply to  Jon

I can only imagine the level of disaster that would have looked like with the bulbous bow……

peter Wait
peter Wait
9 days ago

Their were rumours that building a new ferry from scratch would be cheaper than carrying out the rework required ! Sturgeon folly .

The Big Man
The Big Man
12 days ago

So the windows were FFBNW?

LongTime
LongTime
12 days ago
Reply to  The Big Man

😂😂😂😂😂

Mark
Mark
12 days ago

Thanks George I hope they can put the past behind them and turn things around the more ship building capacity we have the better. Would they have the capacity to build the FFS when the time comes?

eclipse
eclipse
12 days ago
Reply to  Mark

I very much doubt so. If you scroll up and look at Farouk’s post it becomes clear that they would likely just be able to squeeze in a Type 31 if at all. The 31 is 137 metres. RFA Fort Vic is 203 metres and I wouldn’t be surprised if the FSSS was closer to 220m. I don’t think that Ferguson can fit a ship of such length, nor a ship generally so large and with a displacement of 40k+ tonnes.

Mark
Mark
12 days ago
Reply to  eclipse

Thank you eclipse for info so where does that leave us with UK yards that can build such ships at the moment.

Longtime
Longtime
11 days ago
Reply to  Mark

Mark, only really cammell laird with any real capacity at the moment. H&W could probably ramp up to do it but they have built a big ship for awhile.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
11 days ago

Did you need to get permission before flying the drone over a commercial space?

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
11 days ago
Reply to  George Allison

On the news a suspected spy is being hunted after a drone was spotted over a secret ship building facility near port Glasgow. Name is thought to be georgeski.

amin
amin
11 days ago

I can not watch the movie because of the YouTube filter

X————–X

farouk
farouk
11 days ago
Reply to  George Allison

George,
Amin is Iranian and from his posts, I would say still lives there and so must be using a VPN to access this site.

amin
amin
11 days ago
Reply to  farouk

This site is not filtered. YouTube is filtered

Martin
Martin
11 days ago

Very interesting footage, it shows how small Ferguson marine actually is as a facility. One wonders given its small size of it was worth saving for the hundreds of millions of tax payers money that has gone on it. It’s hardly a strategic facility compared to other yards in Scotland and the UK. I can’t imagine the workers were not immediately relocated to BAE or Babcock yards as both are crying out for workers. The SNP has a terrible rate on rescue deals with BiFab and press wick being examples of saving business’s that are just not viable.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
11 days ago
Reply to  Martin

I’d tend to echo that I’m afraid.

It is not like the jobs would actually be lost just relocated to the yards that are at capacity and trying to increase capacity.

Yes, there is a shipbuilding capacity problem and Fegusons isn’t the solution to it. As others have said the site is too cramped.

Demon
Demon
11 days ago

Don’t forget the 3K jobs that will disappear should HOlyrood at any time decide the submarine facilities have to close!

Duncan Macniven
Duncan Macniven
4 days ago
Reply to  Demon

And how many jobs will we create after independence. Scotland needs a very substantial marine fleet, for protection. Not for PROJECTING power and killing citizens in other sovereign nations. The vast amount of jobs invented on the Jackie Bailey sliding scale lie device are MOD and Navy. None pay taxes in Scotland. Most are not full time Scottish residents. Coulport and Faslane will be utlised by a Scottish Marine sector. Providing many jobs to those who live, work and pay taxes to our Scottish exchequer. Check Hansard, that question was asked, the number of actual jobs between the two sites… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
11 days ago
Reply to  Martin

I’m disappointed how the SNP aren’t taken to task on this more. Fair do’s there’s a bit of scrutiny over the ferries at the moment but they seem to get a free pass on a lot of this. Labour and the Tories in Scotland really need to get their acts together.

Martin
Martin
11 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

The problem is that any level of corruption, illegality or shear incompetence when compared to the Johnson government just seems minor. We currently have a PM who use to be a comedian that has been charged by police in office of an offence and is currently under investigation for more charges with a chancellor who has also been prosecuted by police and his wife is a tax dodger. Nicola Sturgeon could literally murder someone and it would not register with most people in Scotland. As long as the Tory’s are in power in England the SNP will be in power… Read more »

The Big Man
The Big Man
11 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Not sure where Bojo used to be a comedian, but we have seen how comedians rise to the challenge when Putin gets aggressive. In no way defending how Boris has let us down, but we need to move on, there are far more important issues to be dealt with than lockdown breaches. In another time possibly we could hang him up to dry, but there is no one to take over from him on either side. He has not been charged by the police, he has received a fixed penalty notice which as it has been paid means there are… Read more »

The Big Man
The Big Man
11 days ago
Reply to  The Big Man

sectionalist should be sensationalist

Martin
Martin
11 days ago
Reply to  The Big Man

No hiding who you support clearly. Bojo got his career break playing Tim Nice but dim on have I got news for you. The fact that the chancellors wife is not breaking any laws is the point that most are angry about.

The Big Man
The Big Man
11 days ago
Reply to  Martin

You’ve basically missed almost all the points I made.
That’s fine, I’m not looking for an argument.

Stc
Stc
8 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Spot on re krankie, but you need not worry the her victim would probably be me!

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
11 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

I dont understand how it’s the SNPs fault about a ferry built by Ferguson marine. Granted the shipyard has been taken over but this had to be done to get the ships finished. After they are done expect a quick sale or closure. There are issues that governments should be held to account for but I’m not sure this would be a battle worth fighting. Looking at Westminster and party gate they have enough to deal with. Don’t through stones in glass houses. Kier should of taken that advice. How stupid do you have to be to constantly criticise someone… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
11 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

“I dont understand how it’s the SNPs fault about a ferry built by Ferguson marine.” It seems to have got lost in the ether somewhere but there were allegations that the Scottish Government kept changing the goal posts on the ferry details (I’m assuming a cats&traps/no cats&traps type of thing) which played a big part in the delays and budget busting price. While I’m not against nationalising industries (there are some that I feel should never have been denationalised but I digress) Ferguson’s seems to have partly at least been put into the position where it needed ‘saving’ because of… Read more »

Duncan Macniven
Duncan Macniven
4 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

“Scottish Government kept changing the goal posts on the ferry details.”

Bilge. The company in charge is called CMAL. Ministers cannot change tech detail.

Whats happened at Barrow since you seem to know so much?



Andy P
Andy P
4 days ago

Duncan, you seem a lovely fellow but I’m a little confused….. Barrow ???

Duncan Macniven
Duncan Macniven
3 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

Barrow in Furness, its a place in England. That is England which claims supremacy over Scotland and seeks to tell us what to do. BAE build warships in Scotland for very good reasons. “Nuclear infrastructure upgrade, including Barrow’s Dreadnought submarines, £1.35bn over-budget, watchdog warns. The National Audit Office (NAO) said failure of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to learn from past mistakes meant key projects to upgrade the Defence Nuclear Enterprise were over-budget and behind schedule. It said “inappropriate” contracts with outside contractors and beginning building work on facilities before the designs were “sufficiently mature” had added hundreds of millions… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
3 days ago

Ah, gotcha, a little context goes a long way. If I follow you right then the evil English have made a bollox of a contract (fair to say it happens regularly) then Wee Jimmy should get a free pass, is that about the size of it.

As it happens I’m passingly familiar with Barrow, I sort of lived there for a couple of years, before heading back up to sunny Alba in a shiny new submarine. I wasn’t privy to budgets etc, I was a low level functionary in the evil English oppressors military stranglehold on Scotland.

Trevor
Trevor
9 minutes ago

BUT CMAL is a corporation wholly owned by the Scottish Government, and Government ministers are the sole shareholders. Still no responsibility?

Alan Reid
Alan Reid
11 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Monkey spanker “I don’t understand how it’s the SNPs fault about a ferry built by Ferguson marine”. Because despite the advice of senior Scottish civil-servants, the SNP administration deviated from normal purchasing arrangements in 2015 – and negotiated a flawed contract that has cost the taxpayer £150M over the original budget. In addition, delivery should have been 2019 – instead it will now be 2023 at the earliest. Remember these are just two small passenger ferries, it’s not a complex design. Questions are now being asked about why the contract went to the Ferguson yard. Meantime, businesses on Arran are… Read more »

Stc
Stc
8 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

The authorised the work on the basis of a one line email for Christ sake how more negligent can government get. Boris maybe a hypocrite, but he has not been given billions of pounds that have gone missing, nor has he collected 600k from Tory members which has also disappeared.Support independence by all means, but know when to go and hide when the s..t starts flying.

Ian G
Ian G
3 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

Ferry situation awful but maybe Labour and Tory in Scotland could ask some other questions on behalf of the Scottish tax payer. Why was the QE line £4 billion over budget and three years late? What is the risk to our security having six newish destroyers tied up because their engines won’t do the job. Who signed off the deal on tanks that can’t fire guns when in motion.

Andy P
Andy P
1 day ago
Reply to  Ian G

Ian, why stop there, ‘Cost of Living’, drug deaths/county lines etc etc…. The article is about a specific issue and we’ve kind of wandered off into ‘anything and everything’.

Jonno
Jonno
11 days ago

Maybe they could bid for the National Flagship-not? Lol

Martin
Martin
11 days ago
Reply to  Jonno

The Boris boat 😀

Alan Reid
Alan Reid
11 days ago

In the past, Ferguson has built small passenger ferries of about 5000 tons (100 – 90 metres). But I believe the last ship of that size constructed was “MV Hebrides” in 2001. Since that time, the yard has survived building small car-ferries. Perhaps that explains the current problems, the company may have lost its skills-base. The Glen Sannox class is 7000 tons – and 100 metres. An ambitious project – and perhaps Ferguson needed an industrial partner. Instead the 2015 contract was botched/or rushed, with allegations of political corruption. After the build foundered, the yard was nationalised by the Scottish… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N
11 days ago

Not sure why this is on a defence site… must have been a slow news day what with the war in Ukraine!

George
George
10 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

A slow news day? What an incredibly arrogant comment. We do this in our free time, writing about things that interest us, more to the point there’s an entire section explaining the relevance to defence.

Rob N
Rob N
7 days ago
Reply to  George

Sorry – no disrespect intended you do a good job. However for me personally I found the link to defence weak compared to more mainstream defence stories. This is just my view, your other readers may like this article.

Drew murrY
Drew murrY
11 days ago

The Scottish government should have bought inchgreen.and put a roof on it .then we would have had an allweather ready made building dock

nonsense
nonsense
9 days ago

evidence of corruption

johan
johan
8 days ago

What ever Happens in this yard after this shiteshow. they should not be allowed anywhere near another Taxpayer funded project again. UNTIL they have proved they can build something.

i guess a lot of the problems was caused by passed owners, but lets not forget BAEs and MRA4 and supa glueing bolt heads on.

If this was a drinks party after work, SNP would be jumping up and down demanding someone be sacked.

rather than trying to split the UK up should deal with the shite you can control.