ALBA Party leader Alex Salmond has said the "incompetence" of the award of £100m ferry contracts overseas will provide severe problems for the SNP-Green coalition.

Mr Salmond in a video address says the move to 'snub' nationalised Ferguson Marine is outrageous and on a par with the actions that brought down the Labour-Lib Dem coalition in Scotland which ran from 1999 to 2007.

Scottish Government-controlled Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), which owns the nation's ageing ferry fleet, have invited four overseas companies to bid for the contract to build the two vessels.

Four shipyards were shortlisted for the work and have received invitations to tender for the work - but none are in Scotland.

The successful bids are from Damen Shipyard in Romania, Remontowa Shipbuilding in Poland, and Turkish shipyards Sefine Denizcilik Tersanecilik Turizm, and Cemre Marin Endustri.

It has been confirmed Ferguson Marine embarked on a bid for the contract through the initial Pre-Qualification Questionnaire process but failed to make the shortlist.

The nationalised shipbuilder said it was "a disappointing outcome".

It comes a matter of days after Alex Salmond's Alba party called on ministers to directly award all future CalMac ferry orders to nationalised Ferguson Marine and to create one integrated Ferries Scotland body.


Speaking to Alba members in a weekly video update the former First Minister said: "Just this week we’ve had another demonstration of why Alba is so necessary. The Scotland badly needs new ferries as we can see virtually every day as another breaks down so we are awarding new contracts to build them. But thanks to CMAL shipyards in Romania, Poland or Turkey are the only ones allowed to bid for the two new ferry contracts.

"It’s outrageous and disgraceful. It’s the sort of action that brought down the Labour Lib Dem coalition in Scotland all these years ago."

He added: "And why is this important for Alba? Not just to an alternative perspective because our delegates voted to show the way forward for Scotland’s ferries, and not just to give an industrial strategy for Scotland which is so badly needed not just in ferries and the North Sea but everywhere, but also to provide an independence alternative, because it’s actions or indeed inaction, incompetence of the award of ferry contracts elsewhere that will give severe problems for the SNP Green coalition.

"And when people tire of this nonsense then we don’t want them to turn back to the old tired unionist parties, we want a vibrant independence alternative like Alba, and Alba will be showing the way forward and putting forward the policies and the ideas that the people of Scotland can believe in. That’s what was demonstrated at our conference and that’s how we intend to go on.”

CMAL said it had adhered to the Scottish Government’s procurement process, and that after the Scottish Parliamentary inquiry its assessments process is "stronger than ever" and includes third party reviews.

Ferguson Marine which runs the last remaining shipyard on the lower Clyde was nationalised after it financially collapsed in August 2019, amid soaring costs and delays to the construction of two lifeline island ferries.

It came five years after tycoon Jim McColl first rescued the yard when it went bust.

The delivery of new island ferries MV Glen Sannox and Hull 802, which were due online in the first half of 2018, was found to be between four and five years late, with costs doubling to over £200m.

In June it emerged that the completion of the long-overdue ferries had been delayed again, with Ferguson Marine blaming the coronavirus pandemic and a shortage of skilled labour.