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Nationalised yard launches new ship for Scottish fish farming sector



A nationalised shipyard has marked a new milestone in its recovery with the launch of a 26-metre workboat for Scotland’s fish farming sector.

Ferguson Marine in Port Glasgow used airbags to launch the Hull 805, officially named Kallista Helen, which has been built for Mull-based workboat operator Inverlussa Marine Services.

The launch marks a first for Clyde shipbuilding by using large inflatable marine airbags and a rolling motion to move the vessel into water.

The vessel will operate on the west coast of Scotland and around the Northern Isles on a long-term charter to Scottish Sea Farms, one of Scotland’s leading producers of salmon.

It is the first of its type to be designed and built in Scotland around a ‘thermolicer’ system. It has two decks to perform water-based delousing treatments, as well as farm support roles.

The vessel is due to be completed and delivered to Inverlussa in April.

Tim Hair, turnaround director at Ferguson Marine, said: “There’s a final programme of commissioning to be completed on the vessel post-launch and it will be ready to handover next month.

“On the back of a very challenging 12 months, this is a hugely positive event and is a clear sign of progress at the shipyard.”

Kallista Helen is the third vessel launched by Ferguson Marine since it went into administration and was taken into public ownership in December 2019.

Controversy over the costs involved with building the new ferries at Ferguson Marine shipyard at Inverclyde led to the state takeover.

Four years later, the cost of the planned ships has risen to a fixed price contract of £97m – more than double the initial estimate.

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Hair confirmed last week that Ferguson Marine had an racked up an additional loss of £4.3m, due to the pandemic.

He believes the yard will deliver the ships on schedule, so long as it hires an extra 120 workers to carry out weekend work.

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