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29 September 2014, 12:29 | Updated: 29 September 2014, 12:31
A shipyard which found a new owner after going into administration last month has won a £12 million contract to build a new ferry.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the construction of a new hybrid ferry for the CalMac fleet would be carried out at the Ferguson yard on the River Clyde.
The £12.3 million contract is the first major deal that Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd (FMEL) has won since being taken over by Clyde Blowers Capital earlier this month
The Port Glasgow shipyard had gone into administration in August after experiencing ''significant cash-flow pressure''.
But after being acquired by Clyde Blowers Capital, founded by businessman Jim McColl, a number of those who were made redundant have now been rehired.
The Scottish Government investment, being taken forward by Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), will secure jobs for about 80 people at the shipyard.
Ms Sturgeon said the new contract was a "real vote of confidence in shipbuilding on the Clyde and a significant step forward for Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited''.
She added: "This investment not only provides support to the shipbuilding industry on the Clyde but also underlines our commitment to investing in cutting-edge technology to make our ferries sustainable and reliable.''
Mr McColl, chairman and chief executive of Clyde Blowers Capital, said: "This is the first major order for Ferguson Marine Engineering and is fantastic news for the business, its workforce and for Port Glasgow. It is the third vessel to be built in a four-vessel programme.
"By creating jobs for the former Ferguson's workers and securing the site at Port Glasgow, we have ensured that the experience in the workforce which built the last two hybrid ferries will be used to build this vessel.
"We look forward to working with CMAL to deliver this vessel and to working with them and other vessel operators to bid for more contracts.''
The new ferry will feature a low carbon hybrid system that combines traditional diesel power with an electric battery, helping to reduce its fuel consumption and carbon emissions.
It should be launched in spring 2016 before going into service in the autumn of that year, with the vessel being built to carry 150 passengers and 23 cars or two HGVs.
Ms Sturgeon said: "This will be the third hybrid ferry for the CalMac fleet, showing that Scotland remains at the forefront of ferry design and innovation.
"This new vessel will be fuel efficient and have lower maintenance costs whilst ensuring a quality service for passengers.
"I had the privilege to launch the first of these ferries, the MV Hallaig, and look forward to seeing this latest vessel follow in her footsteps.
"This contract also shows the rest of the world that FMEL is open and ready for business, with their expertise in low carbon marine technologies making them a competitive and attractive option when it comes to attracting new business.
"Clyde Blowers Capital have an ambitious and exciting plan for FMEL and I hope this is the first of many new contracts for the yard as it grows into a real success on the banks of the Clyde.''
Tom Docherty, chief executive of CMAL, said: "Following the successful build of both the MV Hallaig and the MV Lochinvar ferries, CMAL is delighted that the latest hybrid ferry - currently known as Hull 727 - will also be built in Port Glasgow and we look forward to working with the yard's new owners, Ferguson Marine Engineering, on what we are sure will be a superb addition to our fleet.
"Over the next few years we have an ambitious programme of fleet renewal and we are committed to leading the way in innovative ferry design and building for the future.
"We look forward to engaging with the new management for future tender opportunities as their facilities expand and improve.''