Sturgeon announces £12.3 million ferry contract for Ferguson shipyard

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  Scotland’s third hybrid ferry will be built at Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd (FMEL) on the River Clyde, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced today.

The £12.3 million contract is the first major deal for the company since it was taken over by Clyde Blowers Capital earlier this month.

The Scottish Government investment, which is being taken forward by Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), will secure jobs for around 80 people in the Port Glasgow and Inverclyde area, many of whom were employees of the previous owner and worked on the first two hybrid ferries.

The Port Glasgow based shipyard went into administration weeks before the independence referendum.  It was saved by Clyde Blowers Capital, whose chairman Jim McColl announced an ambitious expansion plan – renaming the company Ferguson Marine Engineering.

The new vessel is expected to be launched in spring 2016, before entering service in the autumn of 2016. It will use a low carbon hybrid system, that combines traditional diesel power with electric battery power.

The system will lead to a reduction in fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions. It will be built to accommodate 150 passengers, 23 cars or two HGVs, with a service speed of nine knots.

Welcoming the awarding of the new contract, Ms Sturgeon said:

“This announcement is a real vote of confidence in shipbuilding on the Clyde and a significant step forward for Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited.

“This investment not only provides support to the shipbuilding industry on the Clyde, but also underlines our commitment to investing in cutting edge technology to make our ferries sustainable and reliable.

“This will be the third hybrid ferry for the CalMac fleet, showing that Scotland remains at the forefront of ferry design and innovation. This new vessel will be fuel efficient and have lower maintenance costs, whilst ensuring a quality service for passengers.

“I had the privilege to launch the first of these ferries, the MV Hallaig, and look forward to seeing this latest vessel follow in her footsteps.

“This contract also shows the rest of the world that FMEL is open and ready for business, with their expertise in low carbon marine technologies making them a competitive and attractive option when it comes to attracting new business.

“Clyde Blowers Capital have an ambitious and exciting plan for FMEL and I hope this is the first of many new contracts for the yard as it grows into a real success on the banks of the Clyde.”

Jim McColl, Chairman and CEO of Clyde Blowers Capital, said:

“This is the first major order for Ferguson Marine Engineering and is fantastic news for the business, its workforce and for Port Glasgow. It is the third vessel to be built in a four vessel programme.

“By creating jobs for the former Ferguson’s workers and securing the site at Port Glasgow, we have ensured that the experience in the workforce which built the last two hybrid ferries will be used to build this vessel.

“We look forward to working with CMAL to deliver this vessel and to working with them and other vessel operators to bid for more contracts.”

Local MSP Stuart Mr McMillan said:

“I am delighted that the Ferguson Yard has secured this contract. This is fantastic news for the area.

“This contract will boost the local economy, while also helping safeguard the future of shipbuilding on the lower Clyde.

“After what was a testing few weeks for the workforce, this contract will be welcome news to everyone in Inverclyde, and in particular those who are seeking employment in the area.”

Tom Docherty, Chief Executive of CMAL added:

“Following the successful build of both the MV HALLAIG and the MV LOCHINVAR ferries, CMAL is delighted that the latest hybrid ferry – currently known as Hull 727 – will also be built in Port Glasgow and we look forward to working with the yard’s new owners, Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd, on what we are sure will be a superb addition to our fleet.

“Over the next few years we have an ambitious programme of fleet renewal and we are committed to leading the way in innovative ferry design and building for the future.

“We look forward to engaging with the new management for future tender opportunities as their facilities expand and improve.”