Moves to nationalise yard

Ferguson Marine almost certain to pass into public ownership

Work on the ferries has stalled

Ferguson Marine is to pass into public ownership if a new owner is not found, in a move that will safeguard 350 shipbuilding jobs on the Clyde.

Economy Secretary Derek Mackay today accepted that nationalising the Port Glasgow yard was the only likely solution to maintain operations and complete a £97 million order for two ferries.

In a statement, he said: “The Scottish Government has been working for over two years to find a resolution to the difficulties at FMEL. 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.

“The Scottish Government has now 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. 

It is essential the government acts now to secure the completion of the ferries and continuity of employment

– Derek Mackay

“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.

“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 ferry order is being procured through a public-sector agency CMAL and the yard’s parent company, Clyde Blowers Capital (CBC), is controlled by industrial tycoon Jim McColl, a Scottish Government adviser.

CBC tabled a proposal last month for the Scottish government to take a share of ownership but the government rejected the plan. CBC accused CMAL and the Scottish government of refusing to participate in the discussions.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made it clear at the weekend that the government would make every effort to avoid administration.

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