Barack Obama believes Scotland has "a lot to offer the world'' and promised to return after his first visit to the country.
Ferguson Shipyard In Line For Ferry Deal
Ferguson Shipyard In Line For Ferry Contract
Scottish ministers have named Ferguson shipyard as the preferred bidder for a £97 million contract for the biggest new ferries on the Clyde since 2001 in a deal that could secure over 150 jobs.
Ferguson, which was taken over by Clyde Blowers billionaire and former Scottish independence supporter Jim McColl last year, has been named the preferred bidder for the contract to build the vessels for the publicly-run Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service.
The SNP said the contract is "just reward'' for the investment Mr McColl has made in Ferguson in the last year and should act as a springboard for further contracts.
Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited and CalMac Ferries, both wholly owned by the Scottish Government, have overseen the design and tendering of the two large dual fuel ferries.
The contract will see two 100 metre ferries built at Port Glasgow, which can accommodate 127 cars or 16 HGVs or a combination of both and up to 1,000 passengers.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "This is an excellent result for Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited and I am delighted to name them as preferred tenderer for the contract to build two new ferries, the largest commercial vessels to be built on the Clyde since 2001.
"Today's announcement proves that Scottish shipbuilding can succeed in a competitive market, with the FMEL team submitting the highest quality bid that offered best value for money.
"This contract will see the 150-strong workforce retained and more staff taken on at the shipyard, underlining our commitment to creating the vital jobs needed to boost local economies and help stimulate growth across Scotland.
"The Scottish Government is committed to supporting ferry users around Scotland by providing safe and reliable services, and this is the latest step to ensuring we have a fleet that continues to deliver for the communities that depend on it.''
Ronnie Cowan, SNP MP for Inverclyde, said: "Hopefully, this can work as a catalyst to promote Inverclyde and a springboard for further contracts for Ferguson Marine.''
He added: "This announcement is just reward for the investment that has been made so far and hopefully a signpost to a continuing involvement in the local community.''
West Scotland SNP MSP Stuart McMillan, a member of the taskforce that helped secure Mr McColl's purchase of Ferguson shipyard, said: "The SNP Scottish Government responded quickly to the closure of Ferguson, with ministers forming a task group which met within days.
"We worked hard to achieve the purchase of the yard as a going concern and were delighted when Jim McColl's bid delivered this.''
He added: "Today's announcement is yet another sign of the SNP Scottish Government supporting industry and Inverclyde.''
Tom Docherty, CEO at Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited, said: "We have worked closely with colleagues at CalMac Ferries Ltd to ensure that the design of these ferries follows their requirements that are based on future demand both on the initially identified routes and across the network, as well as their desire for an LNG powered ferry, which helps to future proof the vessel.
"CMAL is committed to leading the way in innovative and greener ferry design and this dual fuel ferry is further proof of that. When fully operating on LNG, these ferries will greatly contribute to Scotland's ambitious climate change targets.
"Subject to agreement on all final contractual elements with FMEL, we hope to be in a position to finalise the award of the contract in September.''
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