Ferry repair bill has almost doubled, new figures reveal
THE repair bill to the ageing Government-owned ferry fleet in Scotland has more than doubled in a decade to almost £20 million a year.
In a written answer to the Scottish Conservatives, the Scottish Government confirmed the cost of ferry repairs has increased year on year to £20m.
Spending was £8m in 2007, and in 2017 it was £20m. The total bill was just short of £139m.
A number of ferries are being built for use in Scotland at present – a privately-funded 100-car capacity ferry at a cost of £14m and two £50m-plus hybrid green ferries currently being built at Ferguson’s shipyard in Glasgow, called the Glen Sannox and the 802 – while a further boat is in the pipeline for Islay.
Scottish Conservatives said this represented “a staggering increase of 250 per cent since the SNP has been in power”.
The Scottish Conservatives have said this demonstrates the ferry fleet on the Clyde and Hebrides is “on its knees” due to SNP inaction.
The average age of Scotland’s ferry fleet is 20 years but 10 per cent are more 30 years old. The average operating age of a vessel is 25 years. The oldest ferries still in use are more than 30 years in service including the Isle of Cumbrae, Loch Striven, the Isle of Mull and the Lord of the Isles.
Jamie Greene, Scottish Conservative transport spokesman, said: “This staggering cost of repairing the Scottish ferry fleet truly shows the fleet is on its knees.
“The SNP should have begun to renew our fleet 10 years ago. Instead the public is stuck paying out vast sums for increasingly expensive repair jobs on our ageing fleet.
“Ultimately, this poorly maintained fleet will only continue to cause delays and cancellations for passengers who rely on this method of transport.
“The SNP government is wasting millions of pounds of public money papering over the cracks of a ferry fleet that should have been replaced long ago.”
As reported by The Herald last month, Caledonian MacBrayne has presided over nearly 120 cancelled or delayed sailings each week for over a decade, new figures reveal.
More than 70,000 Scottish ferries have been delayed or cancelled on routes operated by CalMac since 2007, according to new data.
Figures indicate sailings on 29 routes over the period were delayed 34,124 times and cancelled 39,314 times.
It means that in 11 years the equivalent of around 128 sailings a week have been delayed or cancelled.
The worst-affected routes include those running between Ardrossan and Brodick, and Wemyss Bay and Rothesay.
Scotland’s main ferry operator had already warned of disruption during the summer because of breakdowns in its ageing fleet.
The Glen Sannox is a new hi-tech ferry being built at Ferguson’s in Glasgow. However, it has been beset by delays