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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 November 2005, 17:09 GMT
Troubled shipyard wins ferry bid
Ferguson shipyard
The yard has won a CalMac ferry order
The closure-threatened Ferguson shipyard in Inverclyde has won a multi-million pound ferry order from Caledonian MacBrayne.

The 6m order for a new ferry for the Largs to Cumbrae route was won by the Port Glasgow yard against stiff international competition.

Ferguson's became the centre of a political row after it lost out to a Polish yard in a previous tender round.

The bids were bogged down in a row over European competition regulations.

The new ferry is scheduled to enter service in the spring of 2007, carrying up to 24 cars and 250 passengers.

Earlier this year, Ferguson's lost out on a bid to build a new vessel for CalMac's Wemyss Bay to Rothesay route.

'Preferential treatment'

The Remontowa yard in the Polish port of Gdansk was named as the preferred bidder for that order and also for a Scottish Executive fisheries protection vessel contract for which Ferguson's had tendered.

Despite pressure from MSPs, First Minister Jack McConnell insisted that European procurement rules prevented the executive from giving what he called "preferential treatment" to a Scottish shipyard.

Ferguson management and the Scottish National Party complained that Remontowa was using subsidies to undercut other submissions.

The Port Glasgow shipyard won the new CalMac ferry contract against yards in Poland, Germay, Norway, and Italy.

Richard Deane, the company's managing director, said it was an early Christmas present, the lifeline it had been waiting for all year.

It confirms that a Scottish based company can compete with other EU shipyards and winquote here
Tavish Scott
Transport Minister

Transport Minister Tavish Scott said: "I welcome the awarding of this contract to Fergusons which will provide much needed security for the Port Glasgow yard.

"It also confirms that a Scottish based company can compete with other EU shipyards and win.

"The many people visiting Cumbrae will now benefit from a new ferry to this popular tourist island."

The award of the contract coincides with the planned infrastructure improvements at Largs.

It will allow the company to move a vessel from the Largs-Cumbrae route to another service on the CalMac ferry network.

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