The delivery of the new Arran ferry is set to be delayed again as the shipyard building the vessel struggles to recruit staff.

MV Glen Sannox was originally due to enter the Ardrossan to Brodick service in the summer of 2018 but has been beset by delays and is now well over budget.

The shipyard responsible for the vessel, Ferguson Marine, went into administration in 2019 and was taken over by the Scottish Government.   

Under a revised schedule Glen Sannox was due to be completed between April and June 2022.

However, Ferguson Marine had hoped to have 120 extra workers to enable seven-day working but had only been able to recruit an extra 29 by last week, which it warned could see the timetable adjusted even further.

Production suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic was also blamed for the delay.

In an update to a Holyrood committee last week, turnaround director, Tim Hair, said: “Skilled labour is proving very difficult to recruit locally and it seems that the pool of skilled workers available to Ferguson is unable to meet our resource requirements.

“In summary, the COVID-related elements of production suspension and accrued holidays will delay the schedule by seven weeks and the recovery plan to increase resourcing by working weekends appears unlikely to attract enough workers.

“It is not therefore possible to provide a definitive schedule for the completion of the vessels at this time.”

Politicians from across the political spectrum have expressed their disappointment at the latest delay.

Jamie Greene said: “This latest delay is unforgivable and could mean that it will be nearly 2023 before the replacement ferry is delivered – that’s at least another two years of chaos and disruption on the route.

“This is an astonishing level of mismanagement from an SNP administration that has completely failed North Ayrshire, Arran and our island communities.”

Kenneth Gibson said: “Any further delay in the delivery of the Glen Sannox is deeply disappointing, as everyone is keen to see this unique new vessel enter service as soon as possible.”

Katy Clark added: "There has been a catalogue of failure from the Scottish Government in the building of the ships. A Holyrood Committee described the procurement process as a “catastrophic failure”. It’s time for new management.”