From John Kinsman, St Monans Coastwatch, East Fife
FERGUSON MARINE SAYS IT WILL LOSE £40 MILLION ON NEW FERRIES
The shipbuilder with the contract to build the two new Cal Mac ferries has said it will lose £39.5m on the deal. The latest accounts for Ferguson Marine show the Inverclyde yard made a loss of £60.1m in 2016. Ferguson Marine claim interference and disruption from the Scottish Office ferry company is to blame for the losses. The firm also wants to renegotiate the terms of its £40m government contract. Owner Jim McColl rescued the yard from administration in 2014 and put £8.5m into Ferguson Marine from one of his other companies.
Two duel fuel ships which can be powered by liquefied natural gas as well as diesel will operate on the Cal Mac Clyde Hebridean routes, between Ardrossan and Arran. They have been ordered by Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) which buys and leases the Cal Mac ships on behalf of the Scottish government.
In its accounts which were filed over a year late Ferguson Marine stated the directors believe that the post contract award, interference and disruption caused by the customer have resulted in additional unforeseen costs. But Cal Mac rejects this and has previously insisted Ferguson Marine has not stuck to the terms of its £97m fixed price contract. The row is set to go to the courts.
SEAL PUPS AT RISK
Seal pups across the UK are at risk from toxic chemicals present in their mother’s milk. Contaminants in the environment have been found to interfere with the seal pups ability to gain vital fat. Marine pollutants locked in the ecosystem accumulate in mother seals from eating fish and are passed on to pups when they feed them. The study looked at grey seals in the first weeks of life on May Island in the Firth of Forth about 8 miles east of St Monans. There are about 2,000 grey seal pups born on the island every year.
FERRIES IN GRANT AID
Ferry chiefs will get £80K to improve accessibility for passengers. The Scottish government funding for Serco Northlink will go towards toilet facilities for travellers with complex care needs. It will also be spent on specialist equipment and staff training to help autistic passengers. Island secretary Paul Wheelhouse said “we want Scotland’s ferry service to be fully accessible offering the best passenger experience possible to everyone.”
JOHN KINSMAN STATION MANAGER AT COASTWATCH ST MONANS AND HIS TEAM WOULD LIKE TO WISH ALL READERS A GUID NEW YEAR.