Ahoy Humza! How did Turkish yard build Scots ferry SEVEN years quicker than you could?

It is just 12 months since the first steel was cut at the Cemre yard in Turkey for a lifeline ferry which will serve a Scottish island community.

However, as our photographs show, astonishing progress means the MV Isle of Islay is on schedule to be delivered next year – in stark and embarrassing contrast to the ongoing shambles at the SNP’s yard on the Clyde, where two ­ferries still languish more than seven years after work began, and hundreds of millions of pounds over budget.

The ferry in Turkey is one of four being built there for the Scottish Government, despite it having its own nationalised Ferguson Marine yard at Port Glasgow in Renfrewshire.

 Fast progress on the MV Isle of Islay at Cemre yard contrasts with slow going on the Clyde

MV Glen Rosa at Ferguson Marine has yet to even enter the water

MV Glen Rosa at Ferguson Marine has yet to even enter the water

Phenomenal progress at the Cemre yard, 2,000 miles away on the banks of the Sea of Marmara, means the first ferry now bears a physical resemblance to its Scottish counterpart begun in 2016.

The first Turkish ferry is due to be delivered this time next year and on budget, just 24 months after its construction started.

In a confident statement of intent, Sinan ­Kavala, chief operating officer at the Cemre yard, said: ‘The construction and outfitting of both ferries is progressing according to the schedule and budget, and we will launch MV Isle of Islay in the first quarter of 2024.’

Meanwhile, the first Port Glasgow ferry, MV Glen Sannox, is still sitting in the water outside its yard undergoing ‘fitting out’, having been due to enter ­service in 2018.

The second ferry, recently named as MV Glen Rosa, having spent years ignominiously titled Hull 802, has yet to even enter the water, and has a possible delivery date of 2025.

Steel was first cut for both ships at Ferguson Marine – then owned by businessman Jim McColl – in April 2016.

The Glen Sannox was launched in November 2017 by then First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the ship having black squares painted on to give the impression that windows had been fitted.

We told how the Nationalists’ yard last year reached new levels of farce when repairs were required on a propeller which had rusted up as the ship had been sitting idle in the Clyde for so long.

Critics, including Glasgow Labour MSP Paul Sweeney, previously branded as ‘ridiculous’ the SNP Government’s decision to nationalise, in 2019, the Scottish shipyard then award a multimillion-pound contract to a foreign yard.

In another vote of no confidence in its own yard in Scotland, the SNP signed a further deal in Turkey this year for two more ships to serve the Hebridean route between Uig, Lochmaddy and Tarbert. 

It means a total of four Scottish Government ferries are now under construction in Turkey, while the SNP’s yard struggles with its two-ferry order.

Historians of the Clyde’s once-great shipbuilding industry have noted a deep irony in a Turkish yard building ferries for Scotland – the waters of the Bosphorus were once plied by ferries built at the ­Fairfield yard at Govan.

Speaking to The Scottish Mail on Sunday last year, Mr Kavala proudly revealed that his booming yard attracts a young workforce who relish the challenge of shipbuilding in the 21st Century. 

He said: ‘We are building a lot of high- standard ships and our young, talented and ambitious team, with an average age of 34, gain a great deal of experience in a short time.

‘We have around 2,500 to 3,000 employees at the shipyard, including subcontractors. We specialise in ferries, fishing and offshore vessels, and are increasing our ability to build different types of vessels every day.

‘We are very pleased to be building ships of different types and technologies for many different places in the world.’

A 2021 Holyrood probe into the ongoing saga at Ferguson Marine branded the previous management process a ‘catastrophic failure’.

Last year, it emerged that nearly 1,000 cables in one of the ferries are too short and need to be replaced. Ferguson Marine paid now-departed ‘turnaround director’ Tim Hair more than £1 million over two years.

Speaking last month about progress in Turkey, Kevin Hobbs, chief executive of ferry procurement company CMAL, said: ‘The build programme at Cemre is ­progressing well.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk