Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has called upon the Scottish Government to exhaust all potential avenues before any public ownership bid for the Port Glasgow yard.
On Friday, Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd (FMEL) directors begun the process of going into administration, with their intention to do so by the end of this week.
This morning, the Scottish Government advised it would be ‘ready and willing’ to step in to secure the yard.
The yard’s parent company Clyde Blowers Capital (CBC), which is controlled by Scottish businessman Jim McColl, had previously saved the yard from administration in 2014.
However, the delivery of two hybrid ferries for the Scottish Government-owned Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) and CalMac, have been majorly delayed and subsequently over budget with no resolution in place.
ICC President, Gavin McDonagh said:
“Ferguson Marine Engineering is of substantial strategic importance to the Inverclyde economy, as well as playing a vital role in the regeneration of Port Glasgow. It’s influences and importance to Inverclyde should not be understated.
“The level of investment by CBC has helped to make the FMEL yard one of the most technologically advanced and modern shipbuilding environments in the world, and something we are very proud to have here in Inverclyde.
“It’s entrepreneurial spirit and cutting-edge methods should be supported and managed carefully to ensure it continues to develop.”
CBC had previously tabled a proposal last month for the Scottish Government to take a share of ownership which was rejected, potentially leaving 350 local jobs at risk and a broader blow to the local economy.
Mr McDonagh continued:
“Any potential loss of jobs at the yard would have a considerable effect locally, both to the individuals and their families as well as the local supply chain, leaving Inverclyde in an all too familiar position when it comes to its recent shipbuilding challenges.
“While we recognise and appreciate the Scottish Government’s position to consider all commercially viable options. We understand that public ownership is being discussed. The Chamber fears that this could be a negative step in the long-term. Inverclyde’s economy cannot afford to lose the business leadership and entrepreneurism of FMEL.
“Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce, therefore, is calling upon the Scottish Government to exhaust all other avenues, including potential new investors, before taking this step. We remain fully supportive of our members, Ferguson Marine and CalMac, both of whom have contributed to creating and sustaining much needed jobs and skills for all of Inverclyde.
“As the representative voice of Inverclyde’s business community, we are ready to contribute positively to working with all parties in an attempt to move this position forward reaching a mutually acceptable option, which will safeguard the private ownership of this business and the highly skilled jobs within Ferguson Marine Engineering”.