In my ‘Message From The Bridge’ in September’s (2015) issue of Sea Breezes, I welcomed the news that Jim McColl’s Clyde Blowers investment company had rescued Fergusons Shipbuilding business at Port Glasgow.
Faced with closure, all seemed up for the yard and indeed for merchant shipbuilding on the Clyde, but McColl’s stated plans gave real hope for the future.
On the 11th December 2015 I heard from Captain Murray Paterson (see his letter re Ferguson’s yard in Dec 2015’s Sea Breezes) an old friend and colleague from my time with Sealink. He told me that he had that day, in cold and breezy conditions, attended the launch of the hybrid ferry Catriona at Fergusons yard at Port Glasgow. This is the first ship built by Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd since the takeover. Built for Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) she will be operated by CalMac.
This launch is a real beacon of hope for the future of the yard, as earlier in the year the Scottish Government named Fergusons as the preferred bidder for a circa £97 million contract for two new ferries.
Catriona can carry 150 passengers, circa 20 cars or two HGVs and combines diesel power with electric battery power leading to a reduction in fossil fuel use and carbon emissions – “greener and cleaner!”