The revelation that the wrong type of steel has been used in the construction of one of Scotland’s two new ferries is a “wake-up call” for the nation. That’s the view of two of the country’s top entrepreneurs, who are calling for a new inquiry into what they describe as the “ferry fiasco”.

Their comments come after David Tydeman, chief executive of the Scottish Government-owned Ferguson Marine shipyard on the Clyde, told MSPs there have been a number of “mistakes” leading the MV Glen Sannox to be subject to more delays and cost over-runs.

A mild steel had been used on clamshell doors rather than stainless steel, while galvanised piping was mistakenly used in other areas. Mr Tydeman reported almost 10% of the final price tag – about £35 million – had been spent on redesigning the vessel.

Speaking on their Go Radio Business Show with Hunter & Haughey, Sir Tom Hunter said: “When I heard they had used the wrong steel I had to check it wasn’t April the First. I’m beyond words. How can you have got it so wrong? 

“The two ferries are now going to cost nearly £400 million of our money, taxpayers’ money – that’s just over four times the original budget – and, despite this, the ferries are going to carry 300 fewer passengers between them.

“And because of the design of the Glen Sannox, they’re also having to alter Ardrossan harbour because it cannot get in there. What is going on?”

Lord Willie Haughey, describing the latest disclosure as a horror story, labelled the project a fundamental failure.

“This is something you can put at somebody’s door. We need to talk about accountability and holding another investigation into what has actually happened.

“You have to look at whoever was manufacturing what I’m going to call ‘the tug’. It's sad when you talk about public money in the realms of £400m. But here’s the really sad news: I can guarantee you by time this ferry is finished, the technology on it will be outdated. Things will have moved on. This will not be a modern ferry.”

He said the public should be asking for an immediate inquiry to investigate what he claimed is incompetency at the heart of the entire project, which began in 2015 with the aim of supplying two ferries to the state-owned operator CalMac.

“What happened?” asked Sir Tom. “As a nation, we had a great history of shipbuilding. We led the world in this and we now can’t build two ferries. I honestly don’t understand it.

“Bear in mind that we gave Turkey a contract to build another two ferries. They seem to be on time and on budget. Is that what this country’s come to? I’m appalled!”

Lord Haughey pointed out that the last two major projects the nation has been responsible for, under the auspices of the Scottish Government, have not gone well.

“One was constructing the Parliament building at six times the original estimated costs. I don’t how late it was but perhaps three or four years? Now we have the ferries.

“Is it surprising, then, that parties might not want to invest in guilts or bonds in Scotland for major infrastructure projects? How could you trust us to deliver one?”

Sir Tom admitted he believed Scotland just doesn’t seem to have the capability to deliver such projects. 

“That is a scandal and we need to dig into it,” he said. “It’s our money that’s being wasted here. Folk can’t heat their homes while public servants fritter away money on ferries and deposit return schemes. It’s ridiculous. I’m really annoyed about it!”