Political influence should be kept at arm’s length from the process of ordering vessels for Scotland’s under-pressure ferry service, an island campaign group has declared.

A day after the disastrous project to build two new ferries at the Ferguson yard in Inverclyde was laid bare in a Holyrood inquiry, the Arran Ferry Action Group said decisions on ferry procurement must be based on cold commercial logic – not politically motivation.

Its intervention comes in the week the Scottish Parliament heard that the two dual-fuelled ferries being built at the now-nationalised Ferguson remain “significantly less than half-built”.

The Arran Ferry Action Group, which has 1,200 supporters on the island, called for Transport Scotland, ferry infrastructure body Caledonian Maritime Assets (CMAL) and operator CalMac to adopt a new approach to vessel ordering, stating that Scotland should look overseas for examples of best practice. 

It said attention should be paid to the views of island communities and maritime experts such as Alf Baird and Roy Pedersen.

The group said: “The need to build new ships should not be confused with the wish to preserve shipbuilding jobs on the Clyde or, as in the case of Ardrossan harbour, the regeneration of a small town. 

“Subsuming one aim to another or conflating the two, as in the case of Ferguson Marine, will only result in the failure of both.”

The Arran group also offered its view on the Scottish Government’s decision to nationalise Ferguson to deliver the vessels, and the future award of contracts for new ferries. 

It is now expected that the cost of building the vessels will be more than double the £97 million specified in the original contract.