Scottish Government swoops in to take over Ferguson shipyard

Written by Emily Woods on 12 August 2019 in News

Finance secretary says government "ready and willing" to transfer Ferguson Marine shipyard into public ownership 

Glen Sannox, one of the ferries being constructed at Ferguson Marine shipyard - Image credit: Flickr RP Marks

The Scottish Government is “ready and willing” to transfer Ferguson Marine shipyard into public ownership and is engaging with all relevant parties to complete the deal “as quickly and as smoothly as possible”, finance secretary Derek Mackay has announced.

News broke over the weekend that Ferguson had served notice of intent to go into administration by the end of this week, jeopardising 350 jobs and the completion of two ferries at the shipyard.

But Mackay announced today the Scottish Government had “indicated to all relevant parties that we are ready and willing to take Ferguson Marine into public ownership and deliver the ferries to secure the continued employment of the workforce in the yard”.

He said the government had been working to find a resolution to the difficulties faced at the shipyard for two years.

“Throughout that time our preference has been to identify viable commercial options to keep the yard going and to finish the vessels. No such solutions have come forward,” he said.

He said the public ownership transfer would be completed “quickly” to ensure the ferries being built at the shipyard, which will serve Arran and the Outer Hebrides, were finished.

“There remains a process to go through to secure the transfer of the yard to the Scottish Government, and we are hopeful that all parties recognise the importance of completing that transfer as quickly and as smoothly as possible,” Mackay said.

“While we are open to engaging with any parties with a serious interest in investing in and securing a future for the shipyard, it is essential the government acts now to secure the completion of the ferries and continuity of employment at Fergusons.”

The BBC reported Ferguson was paid £97m to build the ferries, but the cost had since risen due to changes to the design, including a dual-fuel engine which will use both diesel and liquefied natural gas.

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