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Has anybody noticed that the ferries to and from Orkney, Shetland, and Northern Ireland seem to be operating normally, or as normally as possible given Covid 19. 

 

This indicates,surely, that running such services is not as difficult as, say, understanding the mathematics of black holes. (You know, those places of no return, where our SNP administration directs, with, to be fair, unerring accuracy, vast streams of public money.)

And yet, after 14 years of SNP managing Cal-Mac, and ancillary companies,  the Gaeltacht is regularly cut off, the tourist industry of the Islands lies with its throat cut,  and two forlorn hulls lie down the Clyde, years behind schedule, and miles over budget. 

 

Disgraceful and completely indefensible. 

 

 

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Premium poster Rosie The Riveter, We can do it!

 

THE FINANCE MINISTER GOES ALL ROSIE THE RIVETER.....

Alas no, but she does threaten management at Treasure Island; with what, it is hard to say.

 

Kate Forbes tells Ferguson Marine to finish ferries and bid harder for contracts

Greig Cameron

Wednesday September 15 2021, 5.00pm, The Times

 

Kate Forbes, the finance secretary, said she would not tolerate further delays from Ferguson Marine

 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/minister-tells-shipyard-to-finish-ferries-and-bid-harder-for-contracts-7mwrmnlw0

 

Scotland’s finance secretary has warned the last commercial shipbuilders on the lower Clyde that she will not tolerate further delays to two long-awaited ferries as she challenged them to compete forcefully for new contracts.

Kate Forbes was responding to questions at Holyrood after it emerged that the Ferguson Marine shipyard at Port Glasgow was not shortlisted to tender for the building of the next vessels to be brought into the national ferry fleet.

Stuart McMillan, the Greenock and Inverclyde MSP, asked if Forbes would consider changing the management regime at Ferguson.

Tim Hair was appointed by the government towards the end of 2019 to turn around the fortunes of the yard after it went bust and passed into state ownership while trying to build the MV Glen Sannox and a sister ship still only known as Hull 802.

Hair’s daily fee of £2,565 has come in for criticism with his total remuneration now exceeding £1.3 million.

Responding to McMillan’s question, Forbes said: “All of our actions and decisions must be to ensure those vessels are completed and the yard has a long term future.

“I weigh up all decisions within my own powers on that basis. Leadership does matter and I’m monitoring progress at the yard closely through the board who ultimately oversee operational matters and hold management accountable for performance.

“I’ll be meeting with them next week and I’ve been crystal clear with the yard’s management that I expect no ifs, no buts.

“The two vessels need to be completed and the yard to get into a position to compete successfully for tenders.”

 

Forbes pointed out the Scottish government could not intervene in procurement tenders and it was up to Ferguson to ensure it was robust enough to win orders against international competition.

Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (Cmal), the quango responsible for ferry procurement, declined to say why Ferguson had missed out on bidding for the vessels for the Islay route.

Instead yards in Poland, Romania and Turkey made the shortlist and will be invited to put forward proposals.

The winning site is expected to be notified in March next year.

Ferguson is not expected to deliver Glen Sannox until the second half of 2022 with 802 following in 2023.

Cmal said: “We adhere to the Scottish government’s procurement process, and it was applied to this contract the same way it is applied to all Scottish government contracts.

“Each submission was assessed rigorously by industry experts at Cmal against financial and technical criteria.

“Following a robust evaluation of the responses, four shipyards have been invited to bid for the contract to build the ferries.”

 

A spokesman for Ferguson Marine described the outcome of the tender application as “disappointing” and added: “We will take relevant learnings on board to inform other bids.

“Scotland’s public sector ferries will of course continue to be future business targets for the shipyard, but they are not the sole focus.

“We believe there is a significant opportunity for contracts and business growth in the build of complex vessels in the 40m-100m range, which includes offshore patrol vessels and service operation vessels.

“We are actively pursuing opportunities of this nature, which exist in Scotland and around the world, and we remain highly focused on completion of the dual fuel ferry project, which is a top priority.”

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Meanwhile, in The Real World

 

 

MV Hebridean Isles’s return scuppered after it fails sea trials

Mike Wade

Thursday September 16 2021, 12.01am, The Times

 

The MV Hebridean Isles broke down on Saturday but the operator had confidently predicted it would be back in service on Tuesday evening

 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/mv-hebridean-isless-return-scuppered-after-it-fails-sea-trials-dbsklxjwv

 

A ferry serving the island of Islay has been withdrawn after it was found to have sprung a leak in the latest disaster for Scotland’s publicly owned ferry company.

The MV Hebridean Isles broke down on Saturday but the operator CalMac had confidently predicted it would be back in service on Tuesday evening.

The 36-year-old vessel failed sea trials after seawater is said to have seeped through the hull.

A source told The Times: “There was a problem with the hull that was letting seawater into the steering gear compartment. That is absolutely unacceptable, it risks corroding the gear and had to be dealt with.”

The vessel will sail to Garvel dry dock in Greenock to undergo repairs from Monday and will be out of service for at least another week

The breakdown is the latest in a succession of failures among the CalMac fleet and caused consternation on Islay, which is famous for its distilleries.

The island is normally served by two ferries. Graham Porteous, a member of Islay community council’s ferry committee, said both were almost fully booked for ten days in advance, and the withdrawal of one ship posed “a real problem” for businesses, tourists, farmers and crofters.

Porteous, from Port Ellen, said that the prospect of further vessel failures threatened CalMac’s ability to carry out “a lifeline needs service” to the Scottish islands.

“We have the second highest amount of HGV traffic in the network because of the distilleries and the amount of money the tourism businesses lose because of this disruption is terrible,” Porteous said. “CalMac port staff are at their wit’s end, they have been fantastic, but they come under a huge amount of pressure.”

 

Cmal, the public company which owns the fleet, announced on Tuesday that two newly commissioned ferries serving Islay would be built abroad, by yards in either Turkey, Poland or Roumania, subject to tenders.

The procurement decision came after the Ferguson Marine, nationalised by the Scottish government in August 2019, failed to deliver new ferries to the CalMac fleet and sustained a £100 million loss.

 

Finlay MacRae, the head of operations for CalMac, said that maintaining an ageing fleet “is becoming more challenging”.

He added: “The addition of new vessels is something that we will very much welcome, as we do not have any spare capacity to help cope with demand.

“CalMac staff have been working closely with island businesses this week to make sure that essential services were moved on and off the island.

“When a vessel has to be taken out of service, we have to ensure that lifeline services remain protected.”

 

Alastair Redman, a councillor based in Port Charlotte, said: “We have had plenty of kind words from Scottish ministers and the management of the ferries, but talk is cheap. What we really need is action and investment.”

 

(NB: Councillor Redman is a Conservative.)

 

 

 

 

Edited by Uilleam
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Another day, another ferry hits the rocks. 

One might conclude, from the severity and longevity of this government-owned shambles (there is no other word), that our SNP masters are, quite deliberately, allowing the situation to deteriorate, to the point where the general public, and the affected Islanders, will be inured to the constant failure(s), familiarity breeding, beyond initial contempt, resignation, acceptance, and continual adulteration of criticism.

The ultimate aim of such a tack would be, of course,  preparation of the country and citizens for the joys and realities of political and economic Freeeee-dom. 

 

The Herald reports (with a rare photie of a ferry actually in operation, to cheer us up):

 

Ferry fiasco: Two ageing vessels out of action as CalMac-backed music festival is hit

By Martin Williams  @MWilliamsHTSenior News Reporter

 

https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/homenews/19586306.ferry-fiasco-two-ageing-vessels-action-calmac-backed-music-festival-hit/?ref=ebln

 

MV Loch Dunvegan. Source: YouTube (Scott Braid)

 

MV Loch Dunvegan. Source: YouTube (Scott Braid)

    

A LIFELINE service to a Scottish island was suspended yesterday after another of Scotland's ageing ferries broke down, while another has remained out of service for a sixth day hitting a CalMac-backed Hebridean festival.

Services were halted on the CalMac route Colintraive in the Scottish Highlands to Rhubodach on the Isle of Bute in the early hours of yesterday (Thursday) morning, after problems with the rear main engine of 30-year-old MV Loch Dunvegan.

Engineers were brought in to assist further with investigations and repairs.

A relief ferry the 35-year-old MV Loch Linnhe, was brought in in the afternoon to try and support the latest in a series of ferry breakdowns that have hit the islands. It can only carry a third of the number of cars that the stricken vessel can.

Within the couple of hours there were further sailing cancellations due to "crew rest requirements".

And it further emerged that Loch Linnhe sas unable to carry tri-axle vehicles or vehicles towing large trailers.

Revellers headed for a Hebridean music festival on Colonsay part-sponsored by state-controlled CalMac which officially started yesterday were hit as another lifeline ferry remained out of action.

The issues over one of the oldest vessels in the CalMac fleet MV Hebridean Isles has hit services to Colonsay and Islay.

 

After repairs and sea trials, it was discovered on Wednesday that the issue with the 36-year-old vessel's hull requires further investigations therefore it remained sidelined - meaning the only service to Colonsay was cancelled.

Hebridean Isles is going to dry dock at Garvel in Greenock to investigate the hull issue. MV Finlaggan, the other vessel running the routes has run an amended timetable to and from Islay.

Some performers and visitors due to take part in the Ceòl Cholasa music festival on Colonsay raised their concerns over being able to reach the traditional folk event which is now in its 13th year and runs till Sunday.

  

One festival goer Hughie McNeill said on Wednesday night: "Because of a ferry cancellation, I have missed the start of Ceol Cholasa on the Isle of Colonsay. Instead, I treated myself to a virtual ticket for the Johnny Longstaff show. Superb!"

Guitarist Caitlin McNeill told CalMac on social media on Tuesday night: "Extremely disappointed to hear that the day the majority of punters and all of our sound gear arrives for the music festival, have elected to cancel our sailing. Once again Colonsay is bottom of the heap.

"It might seem like a small scale event to some but the music festival is a huge economic, social and cultural event for our island. A lifeline service is still a lifeline service even if it serves fewer lives."

 

Organisers of the event which describes itself as the "best wee fest in the west" said amidst the ferry disruption it would go ahead as planned.

They said: "We are so chuffed to be able to say that. It's been a tough old time for many, and especially so for those in the performing arts. So to have our wee hall, full of punters, enjoying the very best the traditional music world has to offer, will bring a whole flood of emotions.

"We're going to be jubilant, relieved, elated, thankful, euphoric, engrossed, spellbound, delighted, gleeful, amazed, indebted, enthralled, bewitched and transfixed."

Finlay MacRae, head of operations for CalMac, said: “We know how much island businesses rely on our services and I apologise for any disruption caused on Islay with the loss of MV Hebridean Isles. CalMac staff have been working closely with them this week to make sure that essential services are moved on and off the island.”

The state-owned ferry operator confirmed that it had to redeploy MV Isle of Mull from the Oban to Craignure route, one of Scotland's busiest routes on Monday to Islay - leading to further cancellations.

Services to Islay and Colonsay were reduced initially to just one vessel as repairs were sought just nine days after Hebridean Isles was laid up due to a technical issue with its port main engine.

CalMac has traditionally served Islay with two vessels including MV Finlaggan.

It is the latest in a summer of issues with breakdowns and Covid issues involving Scotland's ageing ferry fleet.

Transport minister Graeme Dey said attempts were being made to ease the ferry crisis by purchasing another ferry.

Last week, another ferry brought in to help support Scotland's beleaguered lifeline network was put out of action the day after it was chartered.

The 40-passenger catamaran MV Larven, normally operated by Western Isles Cruises was brought in by the state-controlled ferry operator as further disruption hit services to and from the so-called Small Isles including Eigg, Muck, Rum and Canna.

Islanders from Arran to Islay have lodged complaints to ministers about disruption and cancellations to services as the ageing Scottish ferry fleet falters.

While industry experts agree the working life of the ferries is 25 years, 14 of the 33-strong ferry fleet run is older than that, with eight, including Hebridean Isles, past their 30th birthday.

 

Ferguson Marine which runs the last remaining shipyard on the lower Clyde was nationalised after it financially collapsed in August 2019, amid soaring costs and delays to the construction of two lifeline island ferries.

The delivery of new island ferries MV Glen Sannox and Hull 802, which were due online in the first half of 2018, was found to be between four and five years late, with costs doubling to over £200m.

Edited by Uilleam
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We are told the Scottish Government employs sixty(60) spin doctors, all paid for by us, the Scottish tax payer. Given the calamitous summer experienced by Cal-Mac, it was inevitable that one or two will have been pushed into penning a new PR blurb for the Scots Government owned company. The eight pages of this thread documents the day and daily ferry cancelations and pleas for folks NOT to visit numerous west coast islands. We even had an incident or two of RAF helicopter intervention reference medical supplies.

 

Thus, how many customers will be baffled by Cal-Mac's latest high regard of proclamation?

 

"Cal-Mac is reliable, special and heroic despite a litany of recent problems".

 

Cal-Mac is divorced from reality. 

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'Freedom' apparently comes with screeds and screeds of small print/terms & conditions.

 

Will any meaningful percentage of Scottish nationalists ever hold the SNP to account?

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17 minutes ago, 26th of foot said:

Cal-Mac is divorced from reality. 

Cal-Mac has always been divorced from reality,

but in the past, despite travails, it remained, at very least, in touch with it.

 

 

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On 16/09/2021 at 07:31, Uilleam said:

 

Premium poster Rosie The Riveter, We can do it!

 

THE FINANCE MINISTER GOES ALL ROSIE THE RIVETER.....

Alas no, but she does threaten management at Treasure Island; with what, it is hard to say.

 

Kate Forbes tells Ferguson Marine to finish ferries and bid harder for contracts

Greig Cameron

Wednesday September 15 2021, 5.00pm, The Times

 

Kate Forbes, the finance secretary, said she would not tolerate further delays from Ferguson Marine

 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/minister-tells-shipyard-to-finish-ferries-and-bid-harder-for-contracts-7mwrmnlw0

 

Scotland’s finance secretary has warned the last commercial shipbuilders on the lower Clyde that she will not tolerate further delays to two long-awaited ferries as she challenged them to compete forcefully for new contracts.

Kate Forbes was responding to questions at Holyrood after it emerged that the Ferguson Marine shipyard at Port Glasgow was not shortlisted to tender for the building of the next vessels to be brought into the national ferry fleet.

Stuart McMillan, the Greenock and Inverclyde MSP, asked if Forbes would consider changing the management regime at Ferguson.

Tim Hair was appointed by the government towards the end of 2019 to turn around the fortunes of the yard after it went bust and passed into state ownership while trying to build the MV Glen Sannox and a sister ship still only known as Hull 802.

Hair’s daily fee of £2,565 has come in for criticism with his total remuneration now exceeding £1.3 million.

Responding to McMillan’s question, Forbes said: “All of our actions and decisions must be to ensure those vessels are completed and the yard has a long term future.

“I weigh up all decisions within my own powers on that basis. Leadership does matter and I’m monitoring progress at the yard closely through the board who ultimately oversee operational matters and hold management accountable for performance.

“I’ll be meeting with them next week and I’ve been crystal clear with the yard’s management that I expect no ifs, no buts.

“The two vessels need to be completed and the yard to get into a position to compete successfully for tenders.”

 

Forbes pointed out the Scottish government could not intervene in procurement tenders and it was up to Ferguson to ensure it was robust enough to win orders against international competition.

Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (Cmal), the quango responsible for ferry procurement, declined to say why Ferguson had missed out on bidding for the vessels for the Islay route.

Instead yards in Poland, Romania and Turkey made the shortlist and will be invited to put forward proposals.

The winning site is expected to be notified in March next year.

Ferguson is not expected to deliver Glen Sannox until the second half of 2022 with 802 following in 2023.

Cmal said: “We adhere to the Scottish government’s procurement process, and it was applied to this contract the same way it is applied to all Scottish government contracts.

“Each submission was assessed rigorously by industry experts at Cmal against financial and technical criteria.

“Following a robust evaluation of the responses, four shipyards have been invited to bid for the contract to build the ferries.”

 

A spokesman for Ferguson Marine described the outcome of the tender application as “disappointing” and added: “We will take relevant learnings on board to inform other bids.

“Scotland’s public sector ferries will of course continue to be future business targets for the shipyard, but they are not the sole focus.

“We believe there is a significant opportunity for contracts and business growth in the build of complex vessels in the 40m-100m range, which includes offshore patrol vessels and service operation vessels.

“We are actively pursuing opportunities of this nature, which exist in Scotland and around the world, and we remain highly focused on completion of the dual fuel ferry project, which is a top priority.”

Bid harder for contracts,  this lot couldn't build one of the airfix plastic models of a ship .

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