Former shipyard management at the core of the ferry building debacle in Scotland said that ministers lost millions of pounds in lucrative contracts – “huge lost opportunities” projects – while criticizing “highly irregular” conduct that created a hidden road to nationalization.
In attacking the Scottish government, they claim that while Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited (FMEL) was publicly owned, it “severely damaged.” its economic effects and job prospects.
They claim that “exciting” ventures have been lost, including substantial participation in an effort to create the first completely hydrogen powered seagoing vehicle and passenger ferry and a fishing vessel factory.
Under previous ownership, management announced that it had secured opportunities to participate in future contracts for defense, to win lucrative fishing and other vessel contracts, and to develop a leading role in hydrogen propulsion systems. All these multi-million dollar possibilities, they claim, have now been lost to the shipyard.
And they say that it is estimated that the cost of completing two lifeboats would be at least £ 241 million – almost three times the original contract value.
Revealed: legal action plunges Ferguson Marine’s contentious state takeover into chaos
Ministers also said they claim that when they took ownership of FMEL in August 2019, they behaved in the public interest, saving it from closure, saving more than 300 jobs and ensuring the completion of the two ships under construction.
Last month, a report by MSPs on the procurement and delivery of the two vessels for the CalMac network called the operation a’ disastrous failure.’
In 2015, the taxpayer-funded corporation that purchases and leases CalMac public vessels on behalf of the Scottish government, Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd, awarded the contract to build the £ 97 million ferries to Ferguson’s, then owned by Clyde Blowers Capital of Tycoon Jim McColl.
But delays, a doubling of costs and a breakdown in ties between CMAL and shipyard bosses have marred the process.
Further delays to the MV Glen Sannox and Hull 802 officially mean that its launch will be delayed by between four and five years after it is expected to enter service in the first half of 2018.
The Sunday newspaper reported in August that when they made a £ 30 million loan two years ago, ministers won a “right to buy” for FMEL, recognizing they were building a road to contested state ownership.
Confidential papers showed that two years before the state takeover in December 2019, after the big shipbuilder finally collapsed into insolvency, the Scottish government realized FMEL was at risk of financial failure.
Former executives have raised significant questions about how the last shipyard on the lower Clyde is being operated under state ownership in a recent monitoring study of life under state ownership.
They state that engineering giant Babcock was named as the competitive consortium bidder for the Royal Navy’s £ 1.25 billion contract for five new Type 31e frigates in the first weeks of nationalization.
As part of the consortium, a collaboration which saw selected hull blocks constructed by the shipyard, FMEL worked closely with Babcock for three years.
It was a working relationship which could have given naval orders for the Port Glasgow shipyard for at least the next seven or eight years.
But the former leadership said the chance was missed due to nationalization.
They also state that the FMEL team involved in HySeas III – which planned to produce the first fully hydrogen powered seagoing vessel and passenger ferry – has been disbanded after nationalization.
FMEL and St. Andrews University co-led the HySeas III consortium and included collaborators from across Europe.
The consortium, represented by FMEL, received the Innovation of the Year award at the 2019 Global GreenTech Awards in Berlin for its work on a hydrogen propulsion system. Since winning this award, according to management, the company was inundated with questions regarding its hydrogen technology.
“In this area, Ferguson was seen as a leader, with a fantastic opportunity,