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, has announced a further delay to the ferries.

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.

MV Glen Sannox (referred to as Hull 801) and the unnamed Hull 802 were supposed to be in service 2018 and 2019 respectively but are both are now hoped to enter service around 2023.

In update from Ferguson Marine on hulls 801 and 802, Tim Hair said:

“I regret to advise you that a problem has recently emerged with the build of 801 which I thought I should immediately bring to your attention.

Each of the ferries under construction at Ferguson relies on a complex network of cables, requiring the installation of over 9800 individual cables with a total length of 243km. Approximately 15% of these (Legacy Cables) were installed on 801 under the control of Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited (FMEL) prior to its Administration in August 2019. None of the Legacy Cables were installed after the Scottish Government took control of the yard.

It has recently emerged that a large proportion of the Legacy Cables have not been installed in line with the engineering information held by FMEL, leaving the free ends too short connect them to the equipment.”

Hull 802

Hair added:

“The legacy cables are predominantly in the machinery spaces and either supply equipment required to commission the vessel, or they run in cable trays which will also support new cables. Commissioning and further cable installation cannot take place until the legacy cables are corrected, delaying the overall project to deliver 801. There will inevitably be knock-on effects that will delay the schedule for 802. At present it is not possible to determine the impact on schedule and cost.”

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
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Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
3 months ago

Yup.

So Babcock and MOD dodged a bullet but keeping it all in one shed complex.

At least that makes sense.

T31 never made sense as a block built proposition with bits coming from all over.

If you can build the blocks close it cuts out on transport costs and time.

GMD
GMD
3 months ago

Hasn’t this yard been nationalized by the SNP led government? Then the same SNP government ordered ships for Scotland from overseas yards? They should be held account in part for this fiasco; it’s not as if they don’t make a lot of noise (a false claim) about not having the full promised amount of RN vessels built in Scotland.

Tams
Tams
3 months ago
Reply to  GMD

Incompetence is inherent to the SNP. But shhhhhh, just don’t mention it.

Last edited 3 months ago by Tams
GMD
GMD
3 months ago
Reply to  Tams

Would you go on those ferry’s when they enter service? I think I would need to think twice 😬😜

Nick Cole
Nick Cole
3 months ago
Reply to  Tams

The evidence is not there! The SNP do not build ships. Shipyards do that and the incompetence is the failure to quality control work on the part of Ferguson Marine. Think about your statement.

Tams
Tams
2 months ago
Reply to  Nick Cole

I never said they did. But they control policy and not supporting their own damn shipyards is partly responsible for this mess.

Nick Cole
Nick Cole
2 months ago
Reply to  Tams

So why mention SNP then? Ferguson was a private company. They and they alone are responsible for the mess. What actual evidence is behind behind your statement other than a partisan unfounded opinionwhich is what I responded to. There is significant difference between policy and actually doing things on the ground by somebody unconnected with that policy. Criticism where it is due is not unfair but has to be based on reality and fact.

Nick Cole
Nick Cole
2 months ago
Reply to  Tams

Also lets not forget that if the Holyrood Government hadn’t steppd in the yard would have closed completely.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
2 months ago
Reply to  GMD

That’s the role of any government or council. To complain to the higher power and make sure they get the maximum benefit for there subjects. We would not expect any less from any representative

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 months ago
Reply to  GMD

I’m no lover of the SMP being a firm unionist, but in this case the fail lies with the organisation that owned the ship yard before the SNP nationalised it.

Jim perston
Jim perston
2 months ago
Reply to  GMD

Did you not read the article all the cables in question were fitted before it was nationalised.

David
David
3 months ago

A ferry is far simpler than a frigate, with far fewer electronic systems. Just as well they are not involved in building frigates.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
3 months ago
Reply to  David

Especially after seeing the ugliest and worst constructed bulbous bow ever known to construction which had to be replaced. Embarrassing.

Peter Crisp
Peter Crisp
3 months ago

I bloody hate cables and I just have to deal with 1 house.
The day everything goes wireless is going to be amazing.
I can’t imagine trying to cable manage the mess that must exist on something like a type 45 or the carriers.

David
David
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

Years ago I was involved with the construction of modules for oil rigs. Senior management wanted to cut costs so employed an electrical subcontractor who was very experienced with buildings but had never worked on an offshore structure. Disaster – the complexity of the cabling in a production module was a degree of magnitude more complex than in an office block…..

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
3 months ago
Reply to  David

These days I build buildings for a living.

We used to use and electrical contractor for some work. We got rid of them because they didn’t follow the wiring diagrams and specs we used.

Guess who was working on CrossRail as a subcontractor?

All the engineering senior managers I talk to about CrossRail, and one is a neighbour, tell me that the problems are almost all down to totally incompetent wiring efforts that are having to be redone.

David Barry
David Barry
3 months ago

Interesting. I heard differently.

They had the chance for interoperability but went clever by choosing different trains to the signalling/control provider. Interface problems emerged rapidly.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
3 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

The issue is/was that rather than creating a simple Hard wire -> Fibre interface for each of the many types of signalling system they were trying to interface with they used a single interface and tried to get idiots to do some very complex logic wiring of the types nobody really does any more. If they had made the interfaced and orange wire goes to orange colour coded terminal things would never have got to this. The issue being the huge number of obsolete signal systems involved. @ DM should the one for this – he is the man in… Read more »

Alex Brown
Alex Brown
3 months ago

I can get behind this electrical contractors in Drydock are the worst on a ship because half of the time they don’t document where they put most of their alterations which means the electricians have to find all them again. Worse though is the alteration they don’t tell us about which happens at times,

geoff
geoff
3 months ago

Morning SB. We are also in the Building Industry on the refurb and coatings side. We sub-contract Electrical work to an old school gent in his 70’s-one of the few left in the industry who knows what he is doing! The decline of skills though is across the board-gone are the days when the Journeyman would klap(hit) an appie if he got out of line on his 3 or even 4 year passage to getting his papers. We are lucky as we have men in house who have been with us for years but we are surrounded by people who… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by geoff
Nick Cole
Nick Cole
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

And then get a power cut and nothing works! Wired trumps wireless.

Peter Crisp
Peter Crisp
3 months ago
Reply to  Nick Cole

Don’t most ships have multiple power back-ups?
Wireless would be both cheaper to design for and maintain. I’m surprised the military isn’t way ahead of the mainstream in this as it would also make ships quicker to build.

Nick Cole
Nick Cole
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

Ships are made of steel/aluminium which act as Farady cages preventing radio signals from travelling between compartments. WiFi would work within each compartment of course. WiFi is also insecure in the sense of a radio emitter so can compromise electronic security. Cables are still required between each access point and a central hub network. Wireless would be more expensive to maintain due to the networking implications and the each router which would replace a simple telephone/intercom is much more complex and cannot be ‘bodged’ in an emergency. It wouldn’t make them any quicker to build as each compartment still requires… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Nick Cole
Chris
Chris
3 months ago

It has recently emerged that a large proportion of the Legacy Cables have not been installed in line with the engineering information held by FMEL, leaving the free ends too short connect them to the equipment.”

Wow… you couldn’t make it up. It’s getting to the point where you have to wonder if FMEL are deliberately sabotaging these builds? To what ends I don’t know but this has been one calamity that shouldn’t have happened after another, after another, after another!

PeterDK
PeterDK
3 months ago
Reply to  Chris

Well, tell the electrician apprentice to go and find the cable stretcher 😀

Crabfat
Crabfat
3 months ago
Reply to  PeterDK

He’s busy looking for a long stay at the moment. He’ll get your cable stretcher in due course…

Chris
Chris
3 months ago
Reply to  PeterDK

Ha!

Also possible that the yard’s SNP overlords are insisting on that tartan paint too!

Nick Cole
Nick Cole
3 months ago
Reply to  Chris

This was a mostly sensible debate until your comment.

Chris
Chris
2 months ago
Reply to  Nick Cole

😂

Thanks for once again for reminding us about the correlation between support for the SNP and being a completely humourless curmudgeon. Well done! 👏👏👏

Nick Cole
Nick Cole
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris

Not sure where the humour bit comes from. Intelligent debate is all, sound-bite unsubstantiated criticism adds nothing. It was Ferguson’s cock up and the yard was going bust.

Trevor
Trevor
3 months ago
Reply to  PeterDK

Takes me back to my shipbuilding days…😀

Sean
Sean
3 months ago

Thank the Lord that Ferguson aren’t getting any defence work!!

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
3 months ago

Realy. You couldnt make this up. Where was their quality assurance?

Bob
Bob
3 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Having heard some of the tales of the “workmanship” on the new builds for Dstl at Porton I can well believe it.

Puffing Billy
Puffing Billy
3 months ago

Am I missing something here? Why can’t the cables be extended to fit equipment. After all what is a cable – just a bit of copper. Buy some big terminal blocks – City Electrical Factors down the road might have some.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago

Ok…a quick multi core cable 101. I am not sure if this is the issue but It happened in the past on a UK T42 back in the day being updated with a jammer. Cables went in and where then ripped out because they where installed incorrectly. There are 2 ends to a cable. Looking at each end the multi cores go clockwise and anti clockwise in the correct order for connecting to a plug or a socket. Only if you install the cable correctly with the wires going clockwise will the pins in the connector be in the correct… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Ah, those lovely round multi Amphenol connectors…..stuff of nightmares getting to a central pin with a dry joint.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago

More of a 608 connector bloke myself… Crimped pins and socket pins are way easier!

Nick Cole
Nick Cole
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Aah for the old skills. Using tools and brains instead of an app.

Stuart Paterson
Stuart Paterson
3 months ago

These ferries have been a disaster from the start, poor decision making, quality control etc.. Not sure exactly how relevant the story is for an “impartial” defence journal though, unless it is just yet another attempt at SNP bashing on this site.

Tams
Tams
3 months ago

It’s not going to have any real issues with the Type 31s (might even end up better), but it is to do with defence.

So try reading the article next time.

Stuart Paterson
Stuart Paterson
3 months ago
Reply to  Tams

Read it all the way through thanks. Strapping on a reference to type 31 at the end, is a really poor attempt to try pull it back into being anything close to being a defence story.

Ian White
Ian White
3 months ago

Cutting cables too short is really a school boy error no professional would make.
Just what is going on!!

Rob N
Rob N
3 months ago

Not quite sure this is a defence story…

Tams
Tams
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

Read the article.

peter fernch
peter fernch
3 months ago

Dont launch them I fear a GLUG GLUG GLUG

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago

Its not just the cables .
All the cables in the cable trays will need to be unclipped so that the duff cables can be removed and the new ones laid up. Thats lots of staging needed to reach them.
If cables go through watertight and A60 Fire resistant bulkhead then all of the cable penetrations will need to be ripped out , cables re-run and the penetrations reinstalled. Once installed they will need checking and signing off.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

They could do with you and your teams expertise to go in and assess the situation. Provide a report. I would of thought this would of been done already. 4 years late and still not in service. I’m sure the next lot of ferries got ordered from Poland.
I think this yard will be up for sale as soon as the ferries are finished and closed if no buyer is found.

Alb
Alb
3 months ago

The story is interestingly vague about whether the design length of these cables was incorrect (unlikely) or whether the cut length was wrong. The design usually has a significant margin on length at the end destination so even if an end equipment were relocated within the compartment, the design length would normally suffice.
If the cut length were incorrect, it would be much more suggestive of sabotage unless you were only talking about one or two cables and that clearly isn’t the case.

George
George
3 months ago

Hi folks hope all is well.
What a shambles this has become! Can anyone remind me of how long this farce has been going on for?
If I recall, the SNP nationalised the yard, what with a list of services they (SNP) have their hands on it goes wrong: health, education, local government and policing.
I hope the Scottish public can see what a lumpant dictator they have.
The irony is that all UK tax payers are contributing to the shambles.
Cheers
George

Peter Armandv
Peter Armandv
3 months ago
Reply to  George

What’s wrong joining the short cables using crimps and heatshrink

Ian
Ian
42 minutes ago
Reply to  Peter Armandv

Hi Peter
More joints means less reliability, more resistance and if plans were not followed the 2 ends to be joined could be some distance apart
It’s all down to poor quality control and management
Thanks Ian

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
2 months ago
Reply to  George

The government had a tough call to make with the yard. Ferries half built and monies paid. Yard is going into administration. Choices would of been to sell the yard. No one wanted to buy it.
Scrap ferries and start over. Or take over the yard
Nationalise it, keep workforce on and finish the ferries.
Unfortunately the plan of get the ferries finished has turned into a complete shambles with delays again and again. I don’t think you can blame the government. The issue lies with the ship builder. The no doubt told the government everything was progressing fine

Jonno
Jonno
3 months ago

Damn, that’s the Wee Scots Navy gone then. Putin will have to find the recources himself in his fight against the old enemy.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
2 months ago

There is such an opportunity for ferry builders. Scottish ferries need purchased on a regular basis. It’s a provided service. Great opportunity for a U.K. yard or 2 if they could make them to cost and industry standard

John
John
2 months ago

I’ve been on multiple engineering projects like this globally and not uncommon unfortunately.

peter cross
peter cross
2 months ago
Reply to  John

only if you were employed by companies eg Bodge it and Scarper,says something for your skill level to work for such people.

Bill Masen
Bill Masen
2 months ago

Another SNP sucess story I see.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
2 months ago
Reply to  Bill Masen

It’s not the actual SNP that are building the ships. Nicola is not the shipyard manager. Education minister doesn’t double as a welder. They simply stopped the shipyard from closing and work on the Ferries stopping unfinished. The Scottish government made what I would say the correct call at the time with the information available. All the staff were kept on to finish the job. The blame lies with the shipyard. Now if the shipyard stays nationalised and more ferries were ordered and it became a disaster then that would be the time to lay some blame at the government… Read more »

Garry Snow
Garry Snow
2 months ago

Nobody ever heard of Junction boxes for long runs
All local cables should be easier to replace

peter cross
peter cross
2 months ago

cant even measure the length of a cable run,you counld, not can not believe how incompetent these Scottish shipbuilders are,good job that the naval vessels under construction in Scotland have English overseerers.

Malcolm Warr
Malcolm Warr
2 months ago

Hair’s explanation is very wide of the mark. Had he supervised the standard project controls well known in naval shipbuilding this cabling challenge which has arisen out of design changes imposed by the Scottish Government could have been avoided