ONE of Scotland's wealthiest men says green vessels at the centre of Scotland's ferry fiasco are already obsolete and would produce dangerous emissions.

Former Ferguson Marine shipyard owner Jim McColl has insisted the Glen Sannox and Hull 802 are not as environmentally friendly as presented as they will spew out poisonous gases and the infrastructure is not in place to handle them.

The two new dual-fuel ferries, which were meant to be identical, were once hailed as a step towards a greener future for Scotland's state owned CalMac ferry fleet as they were to be the first UK-built ships capable of running off liquefied natural gas, or LNG, as well as conventional diesel.

Serious questions have been previously been raised over the viability of the green vessels at the centre of Scottish ferry fiasco - after it emerged key hull features have been left off seven years after the design was completed.

Concerns emerged over a failure to install a crucial ducktail on either vessel, even though previous owners of the Ferguson Marine shipyard said six years ago that they were required to meet official specifications affecting their green credentials and speed.

Mr McColl spoke out in a public inquiry into the failure to deliver the two island ferries which were due online in the first half of 2018, and are at least five years late, with costs soaring from £97m to £250m.

The collapse of the Mr McColl-led Ferguson Marine, which runs the last remaining shipyard on the lower Clyde, in August 2019, came amid soaring costs and delays and resulted in a Scottish Government-pursued nationalisation.


Mr McColl said LNG was already "obsolete technology" and claimed there had been analysis that shows that the fumes produced was 80% more toxic than diesel.

The tycoon said: "They shouldn't have LNG vessels there. CalMac didn't want them. They said they didn't want LNG.

"There's no bunkering arrangements in place for LNG, and it's going to cost a lot money to put that in place. They are now obsolete technology."

An April ferry build assessment had shown a new high risk issue involving modifications to the storage of LNG fuel for use on the ships as facilities had not been created and risk assessments had not yet been undertaken. No ground had reportedly been broken on the £5 million contract for the bunkering facilities at Ardrossan and Uig which were due to be ready this year.

"There's a couple of papers recently, one from a Norwegian minister saying that they wouldn't be buying any more LNG fueled vessels, and there's an industry report out saying that the emissions from LNG vessels are 80% more toxic than diesel fumes and they all have to be eliminated," said Mr McColl.

"So you're now completing two vessels that are obsolete, and you're not going to run them on LNG anyway, because the structure isn't there.

"If you did, you're going to be putting out poisonous gases between Brodick and Ardrossan and the other routes as well. These are not green vessels, but they were wrongly spec'ed."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “MV Glen Sannox and Hull 802 will be vital additions to Scotland’s ferry network and the dual fuel technology ensures they will be greener, quieter and more reliable than previous vessels.

“While LNG is not a long-term alternative to MGO for ferries, it is a proven technology that offers around 20% less carbon emissions than MGO [maring gasoil].  It also has significant local air quality benefits, with shore-powering providing for overnight powering of vessels and significant local noise and air quality improvements for residents and crew.

“LNG infrastructure, including appropriate storage facilities and supply connections, are being developed as part of port expansion and improvement works on routes where the new vessels are expected to be deployed.”

CMAL declined to comment.