The £230m ghost ships: Pictures expose shocking state of Scotland’s superferries

Press/Media: Media appearance


The shocking condition of Scotland’s delayed £200 million superferries can be revealed today.

The original £97m contract was for the construction of two new ferries by 2018, but a government report published in December said another £110m must be spent and both ships won’t be on the seas until 2022. That’s on top of £45m of government loans to Ferguson’s, which were written off.

The Scottish Government said: “Tim Hair’s report makes clear that significant remedial work is necessary to bring the vessels up to the required standard. This work is under way and will have to be approved by appropriate regulatory bodies before entering service. Tim Hair is a qualified marine engineer and has a track record of stabilising companies in difficult situations.“We welcome the independent inquiry and have been as transparent as possible given the constraints of commercial sensitivities. We are actively engaging with the inquiry and are happy to answer any questions the committee might wish to raise.”

She Looks very unfineshed - There is a lot of deformation.

Experts warned yesterday that the partially-built ferries are risking serious damage after studying our photographs.

They pointed to potentially serious issues with the Glen Sannox, which has been left floating on the Clyde since the First Minister officially launched it in 2017.

We showed photos of the ferry to Dr Spyros Hirdaris, a professor of maritime safety, and naval architect Laurence Hildesley. Both said the ship should have been built undercover, not left exposed to elements, which has led to rust and corrosion.They also said steel panels appear deformed, which could weaken the structural integrity.

Dr Spyros Hirdaris, a maritime safety professor at Aalto University in Finland, said: “One thing that drew my attention immediately is the indentations on the side of the ship. I would not expect to see buckled plates on the side cell of a new ship. Such structural defects weaken the hull and would lead me to examine the quality assurance during construction. In open waters and bad weather, the hull may be weaker than it should be. If there was a collision accident, the consequences could be water ingress. “Looking at the overall condition of the hull, there is clearly a lot of rust. The more she stays in water without operating and following regular maintenance intervals, the more corrosion and rust will be obvious.”


Period2 Feb 2020

Media contributions


Media contributions

  • TitleThe £230m ghost ships: Pictures expose shocking state of Scotland’s superferries
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletThe Sunday Post
    Media typeWeb
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    DescriptionThe shocking condition of Scotland’s delayed £200 million superferries can be revealed today.The Glen Sannox and her ­sister ship – Vessel 802 – should have been serving island communities around Scotland already. Instead, they are years from completion as the projected £100m costs double – and experts warn could even triple before the ships are completed.
    Experts who examined our ­photographs warned the ships were slipping into disrepair and should not be exposed to the elements. Naval architects pointed to deformed steel plates on the side of the Glen Sannox, which could indicate structural weaknesses, and also said such a young ship should not be so rusty.
    Producer/AuthorPeter Swindon
    PersonsSpyros Hirdaris