Firm ac­cused of sab­o­tag­ing Clyde jobs win con­tract to re­fur­bish CalMac fer­ries

Sunday Mail (UK) - - News - John Fer­gu­son Po­lit­i­cal Edi­tor

A firm ac­cused of sab­o­tag­ing a River Clyde ship­yard have been handed a Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment con­tract to re­fur­bish CalMac fer­ries.

Cam­mell Laird won the work – which will be car­ried out at their base on Mersey­side – de­spite their Inch­green dry dock in Greenock ly­ing derelict.

The Sun­day Mail has pre­vi­ously re­vealed claims that bil­lion­aire owner John Whit­taker is sac­ri­fic­ing jobs in Scot­land by re­fus­ing to re­ju­ve­nate or sell the In­ver­clyde fa­cil­ity in or­der to pro­tect his in­ter­ests in Liver­pool.

Neigh­bour­ing yards, in­clud­ing Fer­gu­son Marine and Dales Marine, have ex­pressed an in­ter­est in tak­ing over Inch­green, which was built with pub­lic money in the 60s and was used to fit out the QE2.

Labour MP Paul Sweeney said: “The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment have se­ri­ous ques­tions to an­swer as to why they aren’t us­ing pub­lic con­tract s f rom a Scot­tish Govern­men­towned com­pany like CalMac to sup­port Clyde ship re­pair firms and in­stead giv­ing them to Cam­mell Laird, a com­pany who have ster­ilised the use of the dry dock at Inch­green.

“It is un­ac­cept­able that Inch­green – a po­ten­tially world- class fa­cil­ity – con­tin­ues to lie dor­mant.

“The com­pany’s claim to have re­gen­er­a­tion plans for the fu­ture just don’t ring true.

“They say they are bid­ding for main­te­nance work on the Navy’s air­craft car­ri­ers but that could be over a decade away, if it ever hap­pens.

“We need to see ac­tion to bring this site back into use now and, if Cam­mell Laird aren’t go­ing to do that, then some­one else should be given the op­por­tu­nity.

“The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment should be do­ing ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to see Inch­green re­gen­er­ated but, in­stead, they are happy to send work down south that could be car­ried out on the Clyde.”

Main­te­nance con­tracts for four CalMac fer­ries have been given to Cam­mell Laird.

The firm are part of Peel Group, who are con­trolled by Whit­taker, 76, a tax ex­ile from the Isle of Man.

Peel ac­quired vast swathes of the Clyde in 2004, in­clud­ing ship­yards and dry docks, af­ter buy­ing the once pub­licly owned Cly­de­port.

They also bought Mersey Docks and Har­bour Com­pany in 2005, be­fore snap­ping up a ma­jor­ity y in­vest­ment in Cam­mell Laird in 2007. Ship­build­ing work is now fo­cused on Mersey­side, while the Clyde has been pre­dom­i­nantly used for hous­ing and re­tail de­vel­op­ment.

CalMac said: “Our pro­gramme for an­nual f leet ref it fol­lows strict com­pet­i­tive ten­der­ing rules set out un­der Pub­lic Con­tracts (Scot­land) 2015 Reg­u­la­tions.

“Dur­ing the lat­est round of ten­der­ing, Dales Marine suc­cess­fully bid for work on 19 ves­sels and Cam­mell Laird were suc­cess­ful in bid­ding for four ves­sels. “Con­tract awards for the re­main­ing g nine ves­sels in our f leet were

made ear­lier in the year, with Dales Marine win­ning work on seven ves­sels and Ard­maleish Boat­build­ing Com­pany awarded two.”

Trans­port Scot­land said: “We are com­mit­ted to the Scot­tish ship­build­ing and re­pair sec­tor, with six of the last seven CalMac fer­ries be­ing built in Scot­land. The ma­jor­ity of our fer­ries are also over­hauled in Scot­land each year.

“The pro­cure­ment of an­nual dry dock fa­cil­i­ties is a mat­ter for CalMac, as the op­er­a­tor of the Clyde and He­brides ferry ser­vices, but we wel­come the con­tracts they have al­ready awardedawarde to Scot­tish yards this year and, throughthr their enterprise agen­cies, the Scot­tishS­cot Gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to sup­port­supp de­vel­op­ment of the Scot­tish shipsh main­te­nance and re­pair sup­plysu chain.”

Ear­lier this year, it emerged thattha none of the £1bil­lion worth of tthe UK Gov­ern­ment’s De­fence Equip­men­tEq and Sup­port work wouldwo ben­e­fit Scot­land.

NoteNot – Await­ing com­ment from Cam­mel­lCam Laird

AC­TION CALL Labour MP Sweeney ALL QUIET Inch­green dry dock in Greenock it is un­ac­cept­able that inch­green – a po­ten­tially world-class fa­cil­ity – con­tin­ues to lie dor­mant

CalMac ferry


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