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The delivery of a new ferry for the triangular route between Uig, Tarbert and Lochmaddy has been put back to summer 2023, it was announced yesterday (Thursday 24 June).

Ferguson Marine’s turnaround director Tim Hair yesterday provided his promised update to the convenor of the Scottish Parliamentary committee, which now receives information on the procurement of new ferries for the CalMac fleet.

In his report, he said that issues including Covid and the difficulty of recruiting skilled workers for the shipyard had contributed to further delay in delivery of two vessels – Hull 802 and the Glen Sannox, which is now due to be delivered between July and September 2022.

Hull 802 should be launched in mid-August 2022, he said, and ready for service on the route between April and July 2023.

In a previous update in August 2020, Ferguson promised delivery of the vessel on 8 December 2022, but a total of four weeks suspended production due to Covid, three further weeks of holiday accrued by workers during Covid suspensions and 8.1 weeks delay caused by recruitment troubles have put the delivery 15.1 weeks in arrears.

Mr Hair told MSPs that one of the top 10 risks to the delivery of the project remains the recruitment of skilled labour, but that Ferguson Marine has now engaged a new company to supply overseas labour.

In his covering letter to MSPs he said: “We are very aware that island communities have been waiting a very long time for the arrival of the ferries. We remain committed to delivering them as soon as we can to provide the lifeline services for which they are designed.”

The new timetable (pictured in a chart as an appendix to the report) shows 13 February 2023 scheduled as the date for the start of sea trials on Hull 802 and 3 April 2023 as the delivery date.

The picture shows Hull 802 as it stood at Fergusons shipyard in August 2020 (Fergus Monk).