The Scottish Government has confirmed that it is looking to transfer ship yard Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited (FMEL) into public ownership.
Following the recent news that the firm has gone into administration concerns had been raised locally about the future of the dual-fuel Calmac ferries currently being built at the yard.One of these ships - vessel number 802 - is expected to service the Uig to Lochmaddy and Uig to Tarbert routes.
In answer to those concerns Scottish Economy Secretary Derek Mackay told the Gazette: “The Scottish Government has been working for over two years to find a resolution to the difficulties at FMEL.
“Throughout that time our preference has been to identify viable commercial options to keep the yard going and to finish the vessels. No such solutions have come forward.
“We have now indicated to all relevant parties that we are ready and willing to take Ferguson Marine into public ownership.
“This will deliver the ferries and secure the continued employment of the workforce in the yard.
“There remains a process to go through to secure the transfer of the yard to the Scottish Government, and we are hopeful that all parties recognise the importance of completing that transfer as quickly and as smoothly as possible.
“While we are open to engaging with any parties with a serious interest in investing in and securing a future for the shipyard, it is essential that government acts now to secure the completion of the ferries and continuity of employment at Fergusons.”
Talking about the move Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan said: “I am pleased that the Scottish Government is ready and willing to take Ferguson Marine into public ownership. I hope that all involved can ensure this process is as quick and as straightforward as possible.”
The MSP also said he is stressing the need for the communities waiting on the vessels being built to be given clear information about expected delivery times as soon as the current situation has been resolved.