The new chief executive of the Ferguson Marine shipyard, where two late and over budget ferries are being built on the Clyde, is being paid to travel there from Canada, MSPs have heard.

John Petticrew took over as interim chief executive in March after his predecessor David Tydeman was sacked by the state-owned shipyard’s board.

Mr Petticrew is overseeing the remaining work on the Glen Sannox and its sister ship Glen Rosa, which are intended to serve CalMac’s west coast routes.

At the time of his appointment, minister Mairi McAllan said Mr Petticrew would be relocating from Canada – where he lives – to work at the Port Glasgow shipyard.

However Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee heard on Thursday that Mr Petticrew has not in fact moved to Scotland and is travelling to and from Ferguson Marine.

The committee heard from several officials from the Scottish Government’s strategic commercial assets division on Thursday.

Under questioning from Conservative MSP Graham Simpson, deputy director Dermot Rhatigan said: “He hasn’t received a relocation package, he hasn’t relocated to Scotland.

“Like all other employees at the yard, he’s entitled to claim for travel and subsistence.”

Mr Rhatigan said he is unaware of any further details, though he understands Mr Petticrew is not travelling “weekly”.

Officials also told the committee a decision on further investment in Ferguson Marine will be made “shortly”.

Mr Simpson later posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying: “People will be astonished to learn that we are paying for the stand-in boss of Ferguson Marine to commute – from Canada.”

The two ferries at Ferguson Marine are some six years late and will cost around three times the original price of £97 million.

The latest delays mean the Glen Sannox will not be handed over until July, due to ongoing problems installing the liquified natural gas fuel system.

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