FERGUSON’S shipyard is days away from being plunged into administration for the second time in five years.

Bosses at the Port shipyard tonight say that they have until next Friday to find a solution to avoid calling in insolvency accountants.

The crisis at the yard has been sparked by a ruinous contract for two new ferries for the government-owned Caledonian Maritime Assets (CMAL).

Neither has been completed, with the £97m order running into massive trouble amid a row over design changes and who should foot the increased bill - with the initial cost of the work believed to have doubled.

The yard has been loaned £45m by the Scottish Government and ministers had been believed to be on the brink of calling in the debt by nationalising it to safeguard the jobs of the 350-strong workforce and get the two ferries finished.

An offer from billionaire yard owner Jim McColl of Clyde Blowers Capital to split the extra costs with the government in return for a stake in the yard business was rebuffed last week.

Tonight a Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Our priority remains to ensure the completion of the vessels under construction, secure jobs for the workforce and protect the future of shipbuilding at the site.

“We have been working to secure a future for the shipyard for two years, and it is disappointing that we have not been able to reach a commercial solution with that would have prevented administrators becoming involved.

“We appreciate that this will be a concerning time for the workforce, their families and the local community, and we would like to reassure them that we are committed to maintaining the jobs on the site and building a secure future for the yard and its workforce.

“We have been working closely with trades unions representatives throughout this process, and we will continue to do so in the coming days and weeks.”

Senior minister Derek Mackay reacted by posting on Twitter: “The news that Ferguson’s are to appoint administrators will be concerning for the workforce. I am committed to the delivery of our vessels, securing the jobs and the future of the yard.”

He added that the government would be ‘working over the weekend on a solution’.