Nationalisation of Ferguson Marine Good News for Orkney’s Hydrogen Powered Ferry

Ferguson Marine has been nationalised by the Scottish Government.

The shipyard in Port Glasgow where 2 vessels for Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd were being built has been saved from closure. The yard was also due to construct the new Orkney interisland hydrogen ferry. Orkney’s Hydrogen Future

Garry Cook, GMB organiser welcomed the Scottish Government’s action. He said:

“Nationalisation secures the immediate future of the yard and that is a very welcome development, particularly after all the recent uncertainty.

“It is five years since the yard went bust and the Scottish Government has prevented that from happening again.

“Our immediate priority is to secure the re-employment of the workers released last weekend because their skills are essential and then we will insist the government works with us to develop a proper industrial plan for the yard because lessons must be learned.”

Economy Secretary in the Scottish Government  Derek Mackay visited the yard on Friday morning to speak to the workforce.  He also met with the newly-appointed Turnaround Director who will take forward steps to stabilise the business and support the recruitment of an incoming management team, including a Chief Executive Officer.

derek mackayDerek Mackay said:

“Public control will provide much-needed continuity of employment now and ensure the completion of the CMAL ferry contracts at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer.

“It is absolutely essential that the outstanding contracts to build these two ferries are completed in order to sustain the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services network and provide vital support for the economies of our island communities.

“We are now working to put in place a management team which will refocus all efforts on completing this vital government contract. We will also be working closely with staff and the trades unions – as well as suppliers and customers – to achieve the best possible outcome for the yard.”

The yard employs around 300 workers whose jobs have now hopefully been saved. The ferries will get built and the new Turnaround Director, Tim Hair, will look at the way forward for the yard.


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2 replies »

  1. Great, but once the contract has been signed just remember that changes COST MONEY. Change-of-mind changes for which the MOD is infamous were and still are the curse of Clydeside. As a lad growing-up in Greenock and with many family members working in various capacities in shipbuilding and marine engineering, steam and motor, I constantly heard of many instances where whole sections of ships were ripped out and replaced at a huge cost to the builder. That similar type stories are emerging from Ferguson’s where CMal have called for changes which they deny. Hopefully, the truth will out in due course but Orkney should be aware your ferry contract is for the development of a completely new hydrogen propulsion system and where development contracts are concerned to expect cost rises along the way to completion.

    To the commissioning agents, please just remember what may seem like a minor change to you could well be a major change in shipbuilding terms and this increases the nearer you get to completion.

    Let me give you a domestic example. You have a contractor in your house doing some work in say your kitchen and you say something like, “Oh, while you are here could you connect my new washing machine where there is no existing plumbing?” Then you are handed a much larger bill than that expected. It’s just the same when building a ship, from a humble ferry to a mighty ocean liner!!!

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