Proud return of shipbuilding

Published: 4 Nov 2011 10:3032 comments

WORKERS have told of their delight that shipbuilding is to return to Port Glasgow in a deal worth more than £20 million which will create more than 100 new jobs.

SHIPBUILDING has returned to Port Glasgow in a deal worth more than £20 million which will create more than 100 new jobs.

It was confirmed yesterday that Ferguson Shipbuilders have secured a Scottish Government-funded contract to build two new environmentally friendly 'hybrid' ferries.

The deal also secures around 75 existing jobs and will create 20 new apprenticeships at the Port yard over the next two years.

Under the huge contract, Ferguson's will build the world's first seagoing passenger and vehicle roll-on roll-off ferries, which will include a low carbon hybrid system of diesel and electric battery power.

Staff from Ferguson's met Scottish Government cabinet secretary for infrastructure and capital investment Alex Neil yesterday as the contract was announced.

Mr Neil told the Telegraph: "This award is a perfect illustration of how we are making good on our commitment to create the vital jobs needed to boost local economies and crucially, to help stimulate growth across Scotland."

Guy Platten, of government-owned Port Glasgow-based Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) - who developed the detailed specification of the groundbreaking new ferries and placed the order - declared the deal as unique.

Mr Platten said: "This is a first in the world for this type of vessel.

"And looking at the replica of the Comet every day, you can see parallels between the two.

"CMAL is committed to leading the way in innovative ferry design and building for the future and we hope to see the first of these vessels in operation in early 2013."

Richard Deane, managing director of Ferguson Shipbuilders Ltd, said that the announcement was important for the workforce and would have a 'major impact' on the Inverclyde economy.

He said: "The workforce and management have had to endure a difficult 18 months.

"But we are looking forward to brighter days ahead and more employment in Inverclyde."

Raymond Brown, senior production manager at Ferguson's, added: "This gives stability and is important for the yard, for the employees and for the surrounding area.

"It's also a great opportunity to bring in apprentices which is important for shipbuilding skills in Inverclyde."

Local politicians queued up to tell of their delight at the new contract.

The SNP's Stuart McMillan said: "The creation of apprenticeships is the icing on the cake for me and I'm sure that whoever obtains these positions will be grateful of the chance.

"Mixing the traditional Clydebuilt skills as well as newer green technologies shows that Port Glasgow can once again be at the vanguard of the shipbuilding industry.

"These world first vessels will prove to the world that commercial shipbuilding on the Clyde is not over but can be the start of something bigger.

"I grew up in Port Glasgow and my father worked in Ferguson's before passing away - I know what shipbuilding meant to him and I know what it means to the whole town.

"Portonians are proud of their history and legacy to the world and we know that we can still contribute to the shipbuilding world.

"Shipbuilding is returning home and I look forward to seeing the progress of these world-leading Clydebuilt vessels."

Labour's Duncan McNeil, MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde, said: "I am delighted to see ships being built on the lower Clyde once again and I congratulate the team at Ferguson's for beating other shipyards from across Europe for this important work.

"The shipyard has been able to sustain manufacturing and retain its skilled workforce through a difficult period by contracting for work on the aircraft carriers and other vessels.

"This ensured they were able to bid for this work and I wish the Dunnet family, managing director Richard Deane and the team at Ferguson's great success with this exciting new opportunity."

Port councillor Jim MacLeod said the news showed that the hard work of staff and management at Ferguson's had paid off.

He said: "This announcement is fantastic news for everyone associated with Ferguson's, Port Glasgow and Inverclyde."

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  • DavidK
    61 posts
    Nov 4, 11:30
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    Great news, and tremendous that new apprenticeships are being created. We don't hear enough of this anymore.

    Recommend?   Yes 17     No 1

  • Si67
    103 posts
    Nov 4, 11:43
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    It is great news, especially the apprenticeships. However, I hope more orders are secured so these newly trained apprentices have more work in 2 years. Maybe about time the government started trying to win orders from abroad!

    Recommend?   Yes 14     No 1

  • GreenockRover
    4 posts
    Nov 4, 12:01
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    Can I suggest one of the vessels be named the M.V. Prius ? ;)

    Recommend?   Yes 9     No 0

  • Si67
    103 posts
    Nov 4, 12:13
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    Sorry GreenockRover, can you explain why M.V Prius? Sorry, I'm English!

    Recommend?   Yes 1     No 1

  • Snausages
    108 posts
    Nov 4, 12:37
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    I'm really happy for the Port, this is great news. I hope Fergusons goes from strength to strength now, and becomes the thriving little yard it used to be.

    I'm just putting on my tin hat now waiting for this page, which is about a shipyard getting orders, to turn into the daily outpouring of venom towards Duncan McNeil, because he had the audacity to make a comment about it.

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 10

  • ronnie cowan
    88 posts
    Nov 4, 12:49
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    I wasn't going to bother "Snausages".... but seeing as you asked for it. Good to hear Duncan McNeil praise Fergusons and not try to take any credit for it. I sure the order came as a very pleasant surprise to him. Unusual not to have a quote from MP McKenzie or indeed leader of council Cllr McCabe.

    Recommend?   Yes 11     No 1

  • yvoynix
    115 posts
    Nov 4, 13:25
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    Great news.

    Recommend?   Yes 7     No 1

  • samfraegreenock
    156 posts
    Nov 4, 13:26
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    ronnie cowan - I'm surprised that McCabe or McKenzie aren't queueing up to get their names in either, considering they were quick enough off the mark when it came to having something to moan about.

    Perhaps McKenzie is on urgent business "banging heads together"

    As for donkey - the congratulations did sound rather mealy-mouthed and given through gritted teeth

    Recommend?   Yes 7     No 2

  • ColinMacDonald
    31 posts
    Nov 4, 14:09
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    Fantastic news, well done Fergusons!

    Recommend?   Yes 8     No 1

  • InchgreenShore
    76 posts
    Nov 4, 14:36
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    GreenockRover , I think that you are wrong with names , I heard in the "Port" that they are Duracell 1 and 2 , but they can call them anything they like , I hope that Calmac need another five or six of them .

    Recommend?   Yes 9     No 1

  • henryt
    1 post
    Nov 4, 14:49
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    Great news !! but geez a break why flaunt what every tradesmen knows that ever worked in the yards about fergusons, they are still in the good old days when it comes to Health & Safety that pic of the guy burning is a Health & Safety inspectors wet dream.

    Recommend?   Yes 2     No 1

  • herbs50
    8 posts
    Nov 4, 17:35
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    Grand news from a wee Portonian who has been away for a million years and Aye a shipbuilder too Away to Go Fergusons

    Recommend?   Yes 4     No 1

  • Kildrummy
    5 posts
    Nov 4, 18:30
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    Great news for Ferguson's and for Port Glasgow... Well done.

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 1

  • WeeJockW
    676 posts
    Nov 4, 18:59
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    "Labour's Duncan McNeil, MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde, said: "I am delighted to see ships being built on the lower Clyde once again and I congratulate the team at Ferguson's for beating other shipyards from across Europe for this important work."

    Snausages, it's good to see the congratulations going where it's deserved, the team at Fergusons did a grand job in bringing the orders to the Port, they did their homework presented their case and reaped the rewards. My hope is, that this order is the first of many for these revolutionary vessels

    Recommend?   Yes 7     No 1

  • skozra
    45 posts
    Nov 4, 19:16
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    Fantastic news :)

    Recommend?   Yes 5     No 1

  • Snausages
    108 posts
    Nov 4, 23:17
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    WeeJock, you're right, the congratulations are going where it's deserved, to the team at Fergusons. My point was whenever McNeils name is mentioned in an article, it seems to start an avalanche of abuse towards the man, sometimes at a personal level, which just doesn't sit right with me.

    I do agree however, that he always tries to take credit for anything positive that happens to the town, and I can see why it riles people.

    It's just when people are behind the anonymity of an internet message board(I believe you have already mentioned this), they seem to think they can say anything about anybody.

    The man's a human being(albeit a politician) just like us. It can't be nice seeing attacks on your character day in and day out.

    Recommend?   Yes 7     No 1

  • InchgreenShore
    76 posts
    Nov 5, 01:53
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    Now Inverclyde , we all know that welders have a very narrow view of life , it's roughly 3x2 inch's , that's the wee window in the helmet , but it does narrow their outlook on life outwith the industrial bit , Duncan does support things in Inverclyde as long as they have been initiated by the Labour desk somewhere South of the Border , so let's leave Dunky , alone for a wee while , let's turn tae the Labour leader , naw no the Undertaker the other fellow , the musicman , Miliband , pay's the the rent twice over , if ye cannae control the household , just how dae ye control the country , I ask you , Duncan yer no the worst .

    Recommend?   Yes 4     No 1

  • portman1888
    4 posts
    Nov 5, 09:17
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    Great news for the Port, I only hope that any new jobs will go to Port men and women and not to contractors from Tyneside/Liverpool etc.etc.etc.

    The Port needs jobs for local people and these should be prioritised. Let's see the local politicians do something positive and ensure this is what happens. Well done Ferguson's team, I started my working life at 15 at Ferguson's in 1967, long may the yard continue.

    Recommend?   Yes 4     No 1

  • thelaffinboy
    28 posts
    Nov 5, 15:01
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    Well done fergusons..great to win a major contract in this day and age..well done and heres to many many more!

    Recommend?   Yes 5     No 1

  • clinny
    3 posts
    Nov 5, 15:18
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    great news fergusons.served my apprenticeship there,[holeborer] many years ago

    Recommend?   Yes 4     No 1

  • Tiddles
    1077 posts
    Nov 5, 17:54
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    Wonderful, wonderful news. Let's hope these vessels are the start of something bigger and well done to Calmac (or whatever incarnation they are today) for considering such a bold design. Mind you, the old paddle steamer Talisman and the old Loch Fyne and Loch Nevis were driven by diesel-driven electric motors so it's amazing how things come around again now that the technology is up to scratch.

    The reports of the death of shipbuilding on the Lower Reaches of the Clyde have been greatly exaggerated, thank God!

    Recommend?   Yes 10     No 0

  • ollie22
    8 posts
    Nov 5, 18:49
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    Great,great news!!!

    Having worked in Kincaids drawing office as a teenager. I always remember the busy days on the Clyde. I live in the USA now and read the Telly every day. My grandfather was a caulker and my uncles, one a plumber and the other a joiner. It will b e wonderful if the Clyde comes alive again.

    Recommend?   Yes 5     No 1

  • 007goldfinger
    49 posts
    Nov 5, 19:37
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    good news for the yard good news for the workers................. as somebody has to support all the local workshy dole scroungers.........

    Recommend?   Yes 6     No 3

  • Harpotheton
    42 posts
    Nov 6, 14:13
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    Portman1888 - how small minded of you to believe that all of these soon-to-be positions can be filled by local people ?? How parochial are you ? Do you honestly believe that there still exists the skilled designers / engineers / platers and pipefitters in the local labour pool ? I was in the last ever intake of apprentices in Scott Lithgow (Trafalgar House Group). We weren't required - more of a token gesture to the community that they still took on apprentices. When the place was closed down I had to complete my time as a draughtsman in Clydebank (Trafalgar House - John Brown Eng). I'm now 43 years old, don't live in Inverclyde and have no intention of going back to shipbuilding - there's no money in it for 'us contractors'. Oh and here's another thought before you all start dancing for joy at the thought of apprentices....you don't learn much in 2 years - ask anyone who served their time in shipbuilding or engineering. Without more orders coming in there's a real danger that these youngsters who may be lucky enough to get a chance of a bona fide apprenticeship, will find themselves in the unfortunate position in 2 years time looking for somewhere to finish they're time.

    And a high five for Snausages - I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for Duncan McNeil. I knew him long before he was an MSP, he gave me a helping hand many years ago - and I'll always be thankful for what he did.

    Toodle Pip !!

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 6

  • Harpotheton
    42 posts
    Nov 6, 14:15
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    Apologies for poor grammar during my last post....'their time'...

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 2

  • Harpotheton
    42 posts
    Nov 6, 20:19
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    just how can you give a thumbs down to a correction in grammar ? some of you guys need to get out, get educated and take pride in being able to speak and write properly.....oh - I forgot - you're probably from Greenock, ergo you can't read and write....

    Toodle Pip !!

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 3

  • Tiddles
    1077 posts
    Nov 6, 21:06
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    There's a lot of it about Harpo. Some goon or goons seems to spending time marking down everything and anything. It could the start of a slippery slope on here.

    Recommend?   Yes 4     No 1

  • samfraegreenock
    156 posts
    Nov 7, 09:43
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    Donkey McNeils's problem is he seems to have made hoisting ones self by ones own petard into an art form.

    He spouts the party line no matter what.........SNP = Bad

    He does as his masters in London instruct, whither that is for the benefit of Inverclyde or not, is a moot point. Perceived benefit to his party or to himself is what matters.

    Recommend?   Yes 6     No 1

  • stoker
    5 posts
    Nov 18, 20:26
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    Good news for Fergusons

    As for the hopes of Portman1888 regarding jobs for local people it remains to be seen as "foreigners" from eastern europe will also be queing up. How many young welders and platers are being trained at the "watt" college, Isuspect none, as I seem to remember recent apprentices had to go to Paisley where some were in danger of being converted to st mirren supporters. Many locals are now esconced up at the "muddyend"and wont come back for two years work when they have the carrier work and the type twenty six frigates to look forward to.

    The answer is for the scottish government to get together with unions.owners and builders and plan out the future needs for medium sized merchant vessels and start planning a programme that will ensure a viable industry for all of Scotland.

    A start on this would be the torys to reverse the labour edict that the Fleet Tankers for the R.F.A. will be built in Italy,Spain or South Korea after all we have a drydock at Inchgreen which could be used , but dont hold your breath as the torys will let it go ahead and blame labour

    I am just back from New zealand and can report that the tug "Lyttelton" is steaming away merrily , we flashed up the boiler (coal) floated the safety valves and tested all the safety equipment the sea trial went well and the certificate was awarded not bad for

    a Ferguson tug built in 1907 and can still get a passenger certificate.

    Best of luck to all at Fergusons and to the young boys (and girls ) who will get an apprenticeship

    stoker T.L.C.

    Recommend?   Yes 4     No 2

  • RabTheGab
    27 posts
    Nov 18, 22:39
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    Well said. Hope it makes the reading list for the scribblers's contributions from 4th to 7th

    Recommend?   Yes 1     No 1

  • SCOTTISHROSE14
    4 posts
    Nov 23, 21:15
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    Great news for Ferguson's, Port Glasgow and Inverclyde...hope they get a lot more contracts in the near future...

    Recommend?   Yes 1     No 0

  • Jada1953
    11 posts
    Dec 1, 07:08
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    As an ex plater in Greenock,and an expat for the past 30 yrs,its great to see some shipbuilding orders being won again.

    Good luck for the future to all the guys there!

    Recommend?   Yes 1     No 0