A SHIPBUILDING specialist who started life as an electrical apprentice with BAE Systems 38 years ago has been recruited to have a key role in delivering Scotland's ferry fiasco vessels.

Eddie Purves has joined nationalised Ferguson Marine (Port Glasgow) as technical director having spent just over a year as group managing director of A&P Group, the largest ship repair company in the UK, with three yards in Middlesbrough, Falmouth in Cornwall and Hebbern in Tyne and Wear.

A&P Group had just announced operating profit for the year to March 31, 2022 had increased marginally from £4.8m to £4.9m while profits had risen from £3.7m to £4.4m In November it missed out on a lucrative £1.6bn contract to build support vessels for the Royal Navy. The the beneficiaries were a Spanish-led consortium with much of the work going to a rival Belfast yard.

The shipbuilder said it hoped to win other work from the National Shipbuilding Strategy, which was launched by the UK Government at the Hebburn yard in March last year.

Ferguson Marine said Mr Purves was bringing with him 30 years of experience in commercial & naval shipbuilding in Scotland, initially with Kvaerner Govan before the yard was taken over by BAE.

"He spent the last year as managing director of A&P Tyne, who operate the largest commercial dry-dock on the East coast of England. His previous roles include working with Type 26 vessels for the UK Navy and shipyard upgrades with BAE."

According to A&P he had until the time of his appointment in 2021 been involved in a total of 36 new build projects.

READ MORE: CMAL: Design gaps with fiasco ferries 'significant risk' to delivery

Ferguson Marine said Mr Purves will have a "key role" with within its senior leadership team as it works to complete the two vessels under construction for ferry procurers and owners Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL), planned 'restructures' during 2023/24, positions for additional projects on behalf of BAE Systems & others and the small vessel replacement programme.

Also joining on a one-year contract is Carla Roberts joins as chief financial officer, having recently served as financial director within Water Retail.

Ferguson Marine says that along with a personal love of sailing, she joins FMPG with a "strong background across a variety of businesses in various stages of turnaround and experience with local governments".

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It comes as CMAL indicated that continuing gaps in the design of the nation's ferry fiasco vessels is providing a "significant risk" to their delivery.

Glen Sannox and Hull 802 were due online in the first half of 2018 when Ferguson Marine was under the control of tycoon Jim McColl, with one intitially to serve Arran and the other to serve the Skye triangle routes to North Uist and Harris, but they are at least five years late, with costs soaring from £97m to nearly £350m.

Both the shipyard and CMAL are still looking for delivery of Glen Sannox between March and May this year.

Ferguson Marine has advised CMAL that there will be further delay to the completion of Hull 802 which was scheduled to be set sail some time between October and December 2023 and be operationally ready at the start of next year. It said the overall programme for Hull 802 is now under review with installation of pipework behind schedule.

But in a delayed update on progress CMAL has warned: "Ongoing design changes affecting the constructability of the vessels design are driven exclusively within the shipyard process to meet regulatory and contracted specification requirements and are not driven by CMAL request for change. All are related to outstanding technical queries and previously unidentified works. Closure of final design gaps is needed, which at this late stage of the project remains a significant risk to the project."

David Tydeman, chief executive of Ferguson Marine (Port Glasgow), said: “We have a busy year ahead, with the planned handover of Glen Sannox in late spring, and working to complete hull 802.

“These senior appointments bring new talent and a wealth of experience to FMPG and will enable us to expand on strategic planning to build a sustainable future for the shipyard.”