Island communities being left high and dry over ferry fiasco, says McArthur

Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, has warned Scottish Ministers "cannot wait until crisis point" to deliver new ferries in Orkney following the "multitude of failings" revealed by Audit Scotland into Scottish Ministers' handling of delayed west coast ferries.

The public spending body has published a highly critical report into the two new ferries at Ferguson Marine shipyard which are four years late and almost two and a half times over budget.  It reveals a lack of transparent decision-making is weakening the resilience of Scotland’s lifeline ferry network while major problems at the Port Glasgow shipyard remain unresolved.

Mr McArthur said:

"This is a damming indictment of the Scottish Government’s track record on ferries.  These failures have left island communities high and dry.

"While the calamities on the west coast routes have grabbed the headlines, the situation in Orkney is scarcely less precarious.  Despite the best efforts of crews, Orkney's ageing ferry fleet now falls far below the government's own minimum standards and desperately need to be replaced.

"Scottish Ministers cannot simply wait until crisis point to help with the procurement of new ferries to operate the lifeline routes in Orkney.  The current fleet is increasingly unreliable, costly to run and damaging for the environment.

"As Audit Scotland has identified, we need a proper, strategic plan for a phased procurement of new vessels with delivery on time and to budget.  SNP Ministers cannot ignore this latest wake up call."

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