This is from the former FMEL management team’s response to Holyrood’s RECC, 4 Feb 2020:
“The Scottish Government did not save this yard from administration, they forced it into administration by repeatedly refusing to instruct CMAL to engage in reasonable requests for mediation, an expert witness process or arbitration to address the significant cost pressures being put on the yard – even when recommended by their own appointed
Let’s also remember here that Ferguson’s yard had gone bust only a few years prior to Jim McColl’s ownership whilst also working on a CMAL order – the ‘heavy’ hybrid ferries – the latter another of the CMAL/CalMac in-house, unproven, untested, complex, costly, concept design of what is really a prototype ferry nobody ever built before. A bit like asking Ford to build an entirely new car model.
The far better alternative as repeatedly proposed by myself and others for a decade and more is for Scotland to build proven designs of low-cost, medium-speed catamarans, as used very successfully since 2011 in Orkney, and for the last 30 years in numerous other parts of the world – and which may be acquired at less than a third of the price of a CMAL concept prototype ferry: https://www.seatransport.com/ferries/
Scottish Government agencies’ waste and mismanagement here may ultimately cost up to £500 million, if we include several port modification costs, which brings the ferries fiasco into the realm of the Trams Fiasco and the Holyrood Parliament Fiasco. More importantly, we could easily have replaced all 31 CalMac ferries with new catamaran ferries based on proven designs for less than that amount, so the opportunity cost for islanders, for Scottish shipbuilding, and for the taxpayer is enormous.
And accountability? None so far, and the very same agencies and officials in CMAL, CalMac and Transport Scotland who ‘specified’ and sanctioned the costly heavy-hybrids and the two concept prototypes now languishing on the Clyde, have just gone and ordered another two concept prototypes in Turkey. Meantime a larger car-capacity standard Norwegian ferry design ordered in the same yard is costing half that of the CMAL vessel!
So whilst a convenient political scapegoat may be found, and Audit Scotland’s usual timely report points the finger in the wrong direction (again), let’s not forget who the real culprits are.
As usual every attempt is being made to ignore this catalogue of terrible decisions, involving huge efforts to fog and disguise the responsibility for this scandalous misuse of public funds. Not just the cost but the lengthy delay and the stunning reality that what is on order is outdated, impractical and inefficient ships that go nowhere close to providing the service and frequency that would be possible using tried and tested, proven catamarans for a fraction of the cost. They hope it will all go away. It must not be allowed to happen, What signal does this give to people that Independence would lead to a better Scotland if nothing is done to reverse and repair these errors in the face of the mountain of evidence that the current course will at best lead to a third class service and hugely impossible problems in terms of design, capital cost and hopelessly inefficient running costs.
Everyone and everybody makes mistakes but sensible people recognise their error and take urgent steps to recover the situation. Burying the heads in the sand and doing nothing is a recipe for disaster and would indicate the complete collapse of competent Government.
I am, as always
Yours for Scotland
BEAT THE CENSORS
Sadly some sites had given up on being pro Indy sites and have decided to become merely pro SNP sites where any criticism of the Party Leader or opposition to the latest policy extremes, results in censorship being applied. This, in the rather over optimistic belief that this will suppress public discussion on such topics. My regular readers have expertly worked out that by regularly sharing articles on this site defeats that censorship and makes it all rather pointless. I really do appreciate such support and free speech in Scotland is remaining unaffected by their juvenile censorship. Indeed it is has become a symptom of weakness and guilt. Quite encouraging really.
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