On Monday, Kenneth visited Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd (FMEL) to meet with the new Chief Executive, David Tydeman, and go on board the Glen Sannox to view the work in progress.
The Glen Sannox will be able to carry 1,000 passengers and 127 cars between Ardrossan and Brodick when it enters service, greatly increasing capacity and resilience.
Mr Tydeman discussed the well-known trials and tribulations of the ferries contract and spoke passionately and in great detail about how the contract will successfully be concluded.
FMEL now employs 462 workers, along with 250 contractors and more in the supply chain. Almost all of them are working on the Glen Sannox.
The Glen Sannox is now 80% complete and is expected to enter service in March to May 2023. Ensuring that happens is the yard’s overriding priority at this time. The second ferry, 802, which will service the Hebrides will follow in October-December.
“It was fascinating to board the Glen Sannox for the first time and see the huge amount of work being undertaken to complete the ship.
“Mr Tydeman took three hours out of his day to discuss every aspect of the contract, the determination of management and workforce to complete the vessels to a high standard and take the yard forward. For example, the number of apprentices will increase from 43 to 58. He also explained exactly what was happening in every area of the vessel when visiting it.
“Barbara McIntyre, Head of Engineering, explained that beyond the ferry contract the yard is not standing still. For instance, is currently bidding for the construction of Offshore Patrol vessels for the navies of Bangladesh, Ghana and Nigeria, which perceive public ownership as a major advantage for FMEL.
“The company also anticipates securing orders from the SNP Government for its ‘seven and three’ small ferry programme.
“FMEL also plan to bid for more 40-80 metre ferries and windfarm support vessels.
“For Arran constituents however, the priority remains ensuring the Glen Sannox enters service next spring. Scottish Ministers and Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd are working closely with FMEL to help secure that outcome.”
Kenneth is pictured here with Inverclyde SNP MP Ronnie Cowan and MSP Stuart McMillan.