Scottish shipyard faces closure

'Glen Sannox' The 'Glen Sannox' ferry, one of two vessels being built for CalMac, is still being built. Image: Ferguson Marine Engineering

The future of a Scottish shipyard is at risk following confirmation that the company behind it is going into administration.

The collapse of Port Glasgow-based Ferguson Marine Engineering (FME) could see the loss of around 350 jobs at Ferguson shipyard and comes just five years after it was brought by Clyde Blowers Capital (CBC) after going into administration. FME is believed to be in a dispute with the Scottish Government over the cost of a project, being procured through public-sector agency CMAL, to construct two 100m hybrid ferries for Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac).

FME’s chief executive Gerry Marshall said in a statement: "It is with great regret and disappointment that the directors of Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited have served notice to appoint an administrator to the company.

"This decision has not been taken lightly, but the directors do not consider there to be any other options in the current circumstances.

"However, the directors will continue to support the shareholder and the Scottish government to realise a positive outcome for the business and its employees."

The contract, worth GB£97m, involved FME undertaking the detailed design and construction work of the new vessels, as well as their testing, equipping, launching and delivery. The first of the ferries, Glen Sannox, is designed to operate on LNG and marine diesel and due to operate on CalMac’s Ardrossan-Brodick and the Uig Triangle routes. It was anticipated to be operational in early 2018, but Michael Matheson, Scotland’s transport secretary, said in May this date could be pushed back to 2020.

It is believed that the Scottish government is supportive of efforts to complete construction and save the jobs of the shipyard workers.

In addition to FME, CBC owns seven companies operating worldwide within the oil & gas, renewables, power, water, mining & minerals and general industrial sectors.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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