Salmon workboat is Ferguson Marine milestone

Inverlussa's new boat, the Helen Rice, was  launched this week (photo: Inverlussa)

THE first of two new boats built by Inverlussa for the Scottish aquaculture market was launched this week at Ferguson Marine.

The Helen Rice is the first vessel to be completed since the Port Glasgow yard came into public ownership in December, following a dispute over a multi-million pound CalMac ferries contract.

The 21m support vessel for the salmon sector has now been lifted into the Clyde and handed over to Inverlussa Marine Services, a family owned business based in the Isle of Mull.

Scottish finance minister Derek Mackay, who attended the official naming ceremony, said: ‘This is another significant milestone as we start the journey to a new sustainable future for Ferguson Marine.

‘This is a Scottish built vessel, provided to a Scottish customer and serving the needs of the Scottish aquaculture industry.

‘It is hugely encouraging that the yard has been able to support our island economies in this way.’

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Inverlussa managing director Ben Wilson said: ‘We were delighted to build this vessel in Scotland. I would like to thank Ferguson Marine and their workforce for delivering such a well crafted vessel.

‘We are looking forward to Helen Rice starting work providing important services to the Scottish fish farm industry.

‘The delivery of this vessel continues our strategy of investing in the best vessels and crew.’

The Helen Rice has been designed specifically for multi-role mooring and grid work, along with general site services.

The second Inverlussa vessel being built by Ferguson Marine, a 26m multi-role treatment vessel, will be delivered in the summer.

It is expected to be fitted with a new, high capacity Thermolicer, which will be going on long-term charter to Scottish Sea Farms.

The 26m boat has an innovative design featuring two decks, offering greater flexibility and higher utilisation to perform mechanical treatments, as well as site work tasks

Both the new Inverlussa boats have been designed by Macduff Ship Design in collaboration with Inverlussa.

Julie Hesketh-Laird, CEO of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, said: ‘The launch of Inverlussa\’s Helen Rice is a fantastic example of how a thriving salmon farming sector is helping to support Scottish manufacturing, businesses and communities.

‘We look forward to seeing this innovative vessel at sea, serving Scotland\’s salmon farmers as they grow the number one fish of choice for British shoppers.’

Ferguson Marine went into administration following a dispute with Caledonian Maritime Assets – which buys and leases CalMac ships on behalf of the Scottish government – over the construction of two ferries under a £97 million fixed price contract.

Jim McColl, the industrialist who saved the shipyard from administration in 2014, said before the company was put into the hands of administrators in the summer, that the final cost of the two ships was likely to be double the contract price. The ferries have yet to be completed.

Derek Mackay said at the Helen Rice ceremony: ‘My aim for the last two years has always remained the same – to keep the yard open and not just to finish the vessels currently being built, but also to secure a future for the company in the years ahead.

‘The high quality of the workmanship on the Helen Rice is a tribute to the skills of the Ferguson workforce.’

 

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