Yard's future in doubt
Ferguson shipyard ‘may be nationalised’ over ferry dispute
The yard employs 350 workers
The Scottish government may nationalise Ferguson shipyard on the Clyde in a long-running dispute over ferry contracts, it is being reported.
Government officials have been locked in talks for months the the billionaire owner of the yard Jim McColl over the building of two west coast ferries for CalMac.
The bill is now understood to have ballooned to nearly double the original £97 million contract price.
Mr McColl was heavily praised by SNP ministers when he rescued the Port Glasgow yard five years ago and promised to inject new life into the only commercial yard left on the lower Clyde, now employing 350 workers.
But a dispute over funding the ferries has been taken out the hands of Caledonian Maritime Assets, the government-owned firm that placed the orders and owns CalMac’s fleet.
The Scottish government has loaned Ferguson £45m over the past five years, which sparked controversy at Holyrood.
The Scottish government insisted that discussions are focussed on the completion of the current ferry contracts and securing a vibrant future for the yard. It said: “We continue to work together to achieve that.”
Nationalisation or insolvency may be the final outcome if an agreement cannot be reached.