Ferguson Marine

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Ferguson Marine (Port Glasgow) Limited
Company typeState owned
HeadquartersPort Glasgow, Inverclyde, Scotland
Key people
Andrew Miller, Chair
David Tydeman (CEO)
ProductsShipbuilding, ship repair and manufacturing
OwnerScottish Government
Number of employees
Over 400
ParentLithgows (1961-1970)
Scott Lithgow (1970-1977)
British Shipbuilders (1977-1989) Clyde Blowers Capital (2014-2019)
Websitewww.fergusonmarine.com Edit this at Wikidata
Ferguson Marine Engineering from the west, behind Newark Castle, prior to the November 2017 launch of MV Glen Sannox.

Ferguson Marine (Port Glasgow) Limited is a shipbuilding company whose yard, located in Port Glasgow on the Firth of Clyde in Scotland, was established in 1903. It is the last remaining shipbuilder on the lower Clyde and is currently the only builder of merchant ships on the river. For some years the company's mainstay has been Roll-on/roll-off ferries, primarily for Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac), including a series of innovative hybrid diesel-electric/battery-powered vessels. Beset with difficulties since 2018 over their latest two CalMac ferries, Fergusons' largest ever vessel, the shipyard was nationalised in December 2019. It is now classified as an executive non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government.[1]


The Ferguson shipyard was founded as a partnership by four Ferguson Brothers (Peter, Daniel, Louis and Robert) who left the Fleming & Ferguson shipyard in Paisley to lease the Newark yard in Port Glasgow in March 1903.[2][3] Ferguson Brothers acquired the freehold in the yard in 1907 and was incorporated as Ferguson Brothers (Port Glasgow) Ltd in 1912.[3] The company was purchased by John Slater Ltd (Amalgamated Industries) in 1918[3] but returned to control of the Ferguson family in the late 1920s. Lithgows Ltd purchased an interest in the business after Bobby Ferguson's death in 1954[2] and took control of the Company in 1961.[3] Ferguson Brothers remained a separate entity within the Scott Lithgow group from 1969 to 1977.[2]

Entrance to Ferguson Shipbuilders, with the original office building and fabrication shed built to the line of the railway branch which once served the harbour.

The company was nationalised and subsumed into British Shipbuilders in 1977,[3] then merged with the Ailsa Shipbuilding Company to form Ferguson-Ailsa Ltd in 1980.[2]

Ferguson Shipbuilders Ltd[edit]

Ferguson and Ailsa were separated in 1986 when the latter yard was sold and Ferguson was merged with Appledore Shipbuilders in Devon to form Appledore Ferguson Shipbuilders Ltd.[3] By the late 1980s only the Appledore Ferguson yards were still held in state ownership.[4] Ferguson was demerged from Appledore and acquired by Greenock-based engineering firm Clark Kincaid in 1989 then started trading as Ferguson Shipbuilders.[2][3]

Clark Kincaid itself was acquired by Kvaerner and became Kvaerner Kincaid in 1990,[5] and the Ferguson yard sold to Ferguson Marine plc in 1991.[3] The entire shareholding in Ferguson Marine was acquired by the Holland House Electrical Group in 1995.[6] The sign above the main gate continued the name Ferguson Shipbuilders Limited.[7] Between 2013 and 2016 the yard built three hybrid diesel-electric/battery powered ferries, beginning with Hallaig - the world's first.[8]

Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd.[edit]

2017 view of new office building and shipyard entrance, extended nearer the A8 road.

In August 2014, the shipyard placed the company into administration and the following month Clyde Blowers Capital, an industrial company owned by Jim McColl, purchased the yard for £600,000 and renamed it Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd (FMEL).[7]

In August 2015, government-owned Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) announced that an order for two ferries for Caledonian MacBrayne service, capable of operating on either marine diesel oil or liquefied natural gas, had been won by Fergusons.[9] Originally intended for delivery during 2018, construction difficulties (the reasons for which are in dispute) led to a two-year delay for the first ship, Glen Sannox, which was launched in November 2017.[10][11]

FMEL was part of two consortia's bids for the programme for five type 31 frigates for the Royal Navy, worth some £1.25 billion. The consortia are those led by Babcock International and Atlas Elektronik UK.[12] After their bid was selected, a contract was formally awarded to Babcock Group on 15 November 2019, for an average production cost of £250 million per ship and an overall programme cost set to be £2 billion.[13]

On 30 October 2018, FMEL secured a contract to construct a large air cushioned barge for Mangistau ACV Solutions Ltd, part of the CMI Offshore Ltd Group, with estimated completion scheduled in 2019.[14] In December 2018 FMEL announced that two orders worth £5.4 million had been secured from Inverlussa Marine Services for fish farm support ships, to be completed in May 2019, and that three more for fishing vessels, totaling £11 million, were in the pipeline.[15] By July 2019 the ferry dispute had led to delays in closing the trawler contracts.[16]

Ferguson Marine from the west, Newark Quay seen across Coronation Park in 2017.

Attempts by Clyde Blowers Capital to negotiate with the Scottish Government over increased costs and delays to ferries failed, and on 9 August 2019 the directors of FMEL gave notice that the company would be put into administration.[11] This led to a bitter dispute between the Scottish Government and the former owners of the shipyard.[17] A week later the Scottish Government announced that they would take over management of the yard to allow work to continue on current orders, and that if no private buyer could be found in four weeks, the yard would be nationalised by purchase.[18] At the start of December, after three private bids to purchase the yard were rejected as being insufficiently favourable to creditors, the government formally took ownership of the shipyard, and in the process wrote off about £50 million of previous loans.[19]

Ferguson Marine (Port Glasgow) Ltd.[edit]

Shipyard entrance in 2021, mobile crane lifts section onto Hull 802

The newly nationalised shipyard was renamed Ferguson Marine (Port Glasgow) Ltd. on 2 December 2019.[19] The costs and viability of completing contracts was investigated, and Tim Hair was appointed as turnaround director. On 22 January 2020 he told a Scottish Parliament inquiry that the large ferries MV Glen Sannox and Hull 802 were "significantly less than half built", with 95% of their design still to be agreed with the client body Caledonian Maritime Assets. Additional naval architects and marine engineers had been engaged to complete this design work.[20]

In March 2020 Ferguson Marine announced that they had taken a four year lease on a large warehouse sited at Greenock waterfront, and would use it to consolidate stock and materials which had been stored in several warehouses near Glasgow Airport.[21] The large air cushioned barge for CMI Offshore Ltd (ordered from FMEL in 2018) was launched on 24 June 2020, to be taken to the Caspian Sea to be completed and outfitted for oil exploration work in that area.[22]

The company's board of directors with six non–executive members, including Alistair Mackenzie as chairman, was appointed in June 2020 by the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop.[23]

Hull 802 in December 2021

In February 2021, the firm announced it would take on 120 additional workers with the intention of operating seven days per week.[24] The bulbous bow of Hull 802 was fitted in September 2021, and reported as a landmark in significant progress to both ships, deliveries of which by January 2022 were running up to five years late.[25][26]

Fergusons had bid for two new ferries to be ordered by CMAL, but was not included on the shortlist to submit detailed tenders.[27] On 16 December David Tydeman was appointed chief executive, to take over from Tim Hair in February 2022.[28]

On 16 March 2023, Tydeman wrote to Scottish Ministers requesting a reset of the timetable for delivery of the two ferries to no later than end 2023 for Glen Sannox (Hull 801) and no later than end 2024 for Hull 802. The shipyard is aiming to delivering earlier – Glen Sannox in autumn 2023 and Hull 802 before late summer 2024.[29]

In May 2023, Ferguson announced that it had secured an initial contract with BAE Systems to fabricate three steel units for HMS Belfast, the third City Class Type 26 frigate currently being constructed by BAE Systems.[30]

List of vessels built under Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd (since 2014)[edit]

Yard No. Name Type Launch Ordered By Length x Breadth Notes
727 MV Catriona Double Ended diesel electric hybrid RoPax Ferry 11 December 2015 Caledonian Maritime Assets 43.5 x 12.2m
801 MV Glen Sannox LNG/marine diesel hybrid RoPax Ferry 21 November 2017 Caledonian Maritime Assets 102.4 x 17m Ferry fiasco
802 MV Glen Rosa LNG/marine diesel hybrid RoPax Ferry Expected 12 March 2024 Caledonian Maritime Assets 102.4 x 17m Ferry fiasco
803 ACB Argymak Air Cushion Barge 24 June 2020 Mangistau ACV Solutions Ltd (part of CMI Offshore Ltd Group) 55 x 24m
804 MV Helen Rice Aquaculture Support Vessel 29 January 2020 Inverlussa Marine Services 21 x 8.35 m [32]
805 MV Kallista Helen Aquaculture Support Vessel 15 March 2021 Inverlussa Marine Services 26.5 x 12 m [33][34]
806 Cancelled RoPax Ferry N/A Orkney Islands Council N/A Cancelled order, first steel cut October 2019
90007 Hunter's Quay Linkspan RoRo Ferry Linkspan N/A Western Ferries

List of vessels built under Ferguson Shipbuilders Ltd (1991 - 2014)[edit]

Yard No. Name Type Launch Ordered By Length x Breadth Notes
601 MV Loch Dunvegan Double Ended RoPax Ferry 15 March 1991 CalMac Ferries 54.2 x 13.4m
602 MV Loch Fyne Double Ended RoPax Ferry 12 June 1991 CalMac Ferries 54.2 x 13.4m
603 MV Star Pegasus Offshore Supply vessel 22 January 1992 Star Offshore Services 68.83 x 17.5m
604 NLV Pharos Lighthouse Tender 11 December 1992 Northern Lighthouse Board 78.2 x 14.1m
605 MV Leirna Double Ended RoPax Ferry 27 August 1992 Shetland Islands Council Ferries 32.45 x 10.7m
606 MV Red Falcon Double Ended RoPax Ferry 18 August 1993 Red Funnel 83.6 / 93.2 x 17.5m Lengthened by 9.6m in 2004 at Remontowa, Gdansk
607 MV Red Osprey Double Ended RoPax Ferry 28 April 1994 Red Funnel 83.6 / 93.2 x 17.5m Lengthened by 9.6m in 2003 at Remontowa, Gdansk
608 MV Isle of Lewis RoPax Ferry 18 April 1995 CalMac Ferries 101.25 x 18m
609 MV Tystie Tug 3 August 1995 Shetland Towage Ltd 38.37 x 13.92m
610 MV Dunter Tug 25 October 1995 Shetland Towage Ltd 38.37 x 13.92m
611 MV Red Eagle Double Ended RoPax Ferry 23 November 1995 Red Funnel 83.6 / 93.2 x 17.5m Lengthened by 9.6m in 2005 at Remontowa, Gdansk
612 MV Stirling Clyde Offshore Supply vessel 17 May 1996 Stirling Offshore 83 x 19.19m
703 MV UKD Bluefin Dredger 22 January 1997 Associated British Ports 98 x 18.2m
704 RV Scotia Research Vessel 4 July 1997 Marine Scotland 68.6 x 15m Named on 21 May 1998 by Queen Elizabeth II
705 MV Stirling Tay Offshore Supply vessel 16 March 1998 Stirling Offshore 82.88 x 19.29m
706 MV Stirling Spey Offshore Supply vessel 11 September 1998 Stirling Offshore 82.88 x 19.29m
707 MV Stirling Iona Offshore Supply tug 28 September 1999 Stirling Shipping 73.8 x 16.3m
708 MV Hebrides RoPax Ferry 2 August 2000 CalMac Ferries 99 x 16m Launched by Queen Elizabeth II
709 NLV Pole Star Lighthouse tender 18 April 2000 Northern Lighthouse Board 51.52 x 12.1m
710 MV Sound of Scarba Double Ended RoPax Ferry 12 March 2001 Western Ferries 50 x 15m
711 MV Stirling Jura Offshore Supply tug 18 October 2001 Stirling Shipping 73.8 x 16.3m
712 RV Cefas Endeavour Research Vessel 14 August 2002 Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science 72.92 x 16.11m
713 Cancelled RoPax Ferry N/A NorthLink Ferries 112 x 18m Ferguson's withdrew order in December 2000, 2 months after the order was announced. Became MV Hamnavoe built in Aker Finnyards, Finland.
714 FPV Minna Fishery Patrol 3 February 2003 Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency 47.7 x 10m
715 MV Sound of Shuna Double Ended RoPax Ferry 14 August 2003 Western Ferries 50 x 15m
716 MV Spirit of the Tay Passenger Excursion Shipped 2003 Loch Tay Steam Packet Co 35 x ?m Meant to be for Loch Tay excursions but due to disputes after shipping abandoned by Loch Tay.
717 CF Plym II Double Ended RoPax chain ferry 3 August 2004 Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Company 73 x 20.35m
718 CF Tamar II Double Ended RoPax chain ferry 31 August 2004 Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Company 73 x 20.35m
719 CF Lynher II Double Ended RoPax chain ferry 7 June 2005 Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Company 73 x 20.35m
720 FPV Jura Fishery Patrol 28 April 2005 Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency 84 x 13.1m
721 MV Loch Shira Double Ended RoPax Ferry 8 December 2006 Caledonian Maritime Assets 54.27 x 13.9m
722 MV Arenig Fawr Suction Dredger 2007 Airbus UK 18.5 x 5m
725 MV Hallaig Double Ended Diesel electric hybrid RoPax Ferry 17 December 2012 Caledonian Maritime Assets 43.5 x 12.2m World's first diesel electric hybrid ferry
726 MV Lochinvar Double Ended Diesel electric hybrid RoPax Ferry 23 May 2013 Caledonian Maritime Assets 43.5 x 12.2m

List of vessels built under Appledore Ferguson Shipbuilders Ltd (1986 - 1989)[edit]

Yard No. Name Type Launch Ordered By Length x Breadth Notes
572 MV Isle of Mull RoPax Ferry 8 December 1987 CalMac Ferries 84.6 / 90.03 x 15.8m Lengthened by 5.4m in 1988 by Tees Dockyard, Middlesbrough.
573 MV Lord of the Isles RoPax Ferry 7 March 1989 CalMac Ferries 84.6 x 15.8m

List of vessels built under Ferguson-Ailsa Ltd (1983 - 1986)[edit]

Yard No. Name Type Launch Ordered By Length x Breadth Yard Notes
491 MV Isle of Arran RoPax Ferry 2 December 1983 CalMac Ferries 84.9 x 16.2m Port Glasgow
492 MV Mwokozi Firefighting Tug 18 May 1984 Kenya Ports Authority 45.65 x 12.02m Port Glasgow
558 MV Star Vega Offshore Supply 1 November 1982 Star Offshore Services Marine Ltd 68.5 x 16.2m Troon
559 MT Tarihiko LPG Tanker 29 March 1983 Liquigas Ltd 81.1 x 13.9m Troon
560 MV Simba II Firefighting Tug 21 October 1983 Kenya Ports Authority 36 x 10.29m Troon
561 MV Nguvu II Firefighting Tug 31 January 1984 Kenya Ports Authority 36 x 10.29m Troon
562 MV Chui Firefighting Tug 5 April 1984 Kenya Ports Authority 36 x 10.29m Troon
563 MV Duma Firefighting Tug 28 June 1984 Kenya Ports Authority 36 x 10.29m Troon
564 MV Faru Firefighting Tug 5 October 1984 Kenya Ports Authority 36 x 10.29m Port Glasgow
565 MV M.V.A. Hopper Barge 11 February 1985 Stephenson Clarke Shipping Ltd 55.5 x 12.3m Port Glasgow
566 MV Fivla Ferry 12 February 1985 Shetland Islands Council Ferries 30 x 9.6m Troon
567 MV Fort Resolution Offshore Supply 17 October 1985 John Townsend Marine Ltd 65.36 x 13.06m Port Glasgow Converted into an Antarctic research vessel in 1988.
568 MV Fort Reliance Firefighting Offshore Supply 28 March 1986 John Townsend Marine Ltd 65.36 x 13.09m Port Glasgow Completed by Ferguson Shipbuilders Ltd, being delivered in 1989. Converted into an ocean research vessel in 1989.
569 MV Seaforth Earl Offshore Supply 3 October 1985 Seaforth Maritime Ltd 53.88 x 12.22m Troon
570 MV Seaforth Baronet Offshore Supply 7 March 1986 Seaforth Maritime Ltd 53.88 x 12.22m Troon
571 RV Corystes Research vessel 11 August 1986 Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food 53.2 x 13.06m Troon

List of vessels built under Ferguson Brothers (Port Glasgow) Ltd (1912 - 1983)[edit]

Yard No. Name Type Launch Ordered By Length x Breadth Notes
460 MV Gilbert J Fowler Sludge Carrier 23 September 1971 Manchester Corporation 90.96 x 14.18m
461 DERV Scotia Diesel Electric Research Vessel 25 March 1971 Secretary of State for Scotland 68.2 x 13.52m
462 NPD Brasilia No Propulsion Dredger 7 December 1971 Portobras 68.88 x 11.89m
463 MV Consortium I Sludge Carrier 29 February 1972 Manchester Corporation 90.96 x 14.2m
464 MV St Benedict Fishing Trawler 30 August 1972 Thomas Hamling, Hull 65.44 x 12.65m Converted into a Fishing Research vessel in 1987.
465 MV Cambrae Suction Hopper Dredger 18 January 1973 Civil & Marine Ltd, London 93.0 x 16.6m
466 MV Goth Fishing Trawler 28 June 1973 British United Trawlers Finance, Grimsby 59.75 x 12.53m
467 MV Roman Fishing Trawler 11 December 1973 British United Trawlers Finance, Grimsby 59.75 x 12.53m
468 MV Sand Weaver Suction Hopper Dredger 22 August 1974 South Coast Shipping Company, Southampton 91.5 x 16.7m
469 MV Seaforth Jarl Offshore Supply 28 March 1975 Seaforth Maritime Ltd, Aberdeen 67.37 x 14.0m Sank off Newfoundland due to shift of cargo of anchor chains in adverse weather on 18 December 1983.
470 MV Seaforth Highlander Offshore Supply 9 October 1975 Seaforth Maritime Ltd, Aberdeen 67.37 x 14.0m
471 MV Gardyloo Sludge Carrier 4 February 1976 Lothian Regional Council 85.88 x 14.23m
472 NPD M.S.C. Ince No Propulsion Dredger 28 June 1976 Manchester Ship Canal Company 39.76 x 11.0m
473 MV Thames Sludge Carrier 24 September 1976 Thames Water Authority 87.41 x 14.61m Converted to an oil tanker in 1999. Scrapped in Aliaga in 2010.
474 MV Clarknes Bulk Carrier 5 September 1977 Jebsens (UK) Ltd 87.03 x 13.75m
475 MV Clydenes Bulk Carrier 30 September 1977 Jebsens (UK) Ltd / Scandinavian Leasing Ltd 87.03 x 13.75m Subcontracted to Scotts Shipbuilding Company, Greenock. Next two vessels in the order cancelled, were meant to be 476 & 477.[40]
476 SS Lady Chilel Jawara Ferry 29 March 1978 Gambia Government, Ports Authority 45.78 x 9.21m Ran aground then sank in River Gambia on 7 December 1984
477 NPB M.S.C. No. 51 No Propulsion Barge 24 January 1978 Manchester Ship Canal Company 39.63 x 9.12m
478 NPB M.S.C. No. 52 No Propulsion Barge 22 March 1978 Manchester Ship Canal Company 39.63 x 9.12m
479 NPB M.S.C. No. 53 No Propulsion Barge 26 May 1978 Manchester Ship Canal Company 39.63 x 9.12m
480 MV Mlawa Bulk Carrier 2 February 1979 Polish Steamship Co, Stettin 87.99 x 14.6m
481 MV Zgorzelec Bulk Carrier 21 September 1979 Polish Steamship Co, Stettin 87.99 x 14.6m
482 MV Auricula Sonar Trials Vessel 11 November 1979 Ministry of Defence, Navy ?
483 MV Sulisker Fishery Patrol 27 June 1980 Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food, Scotland ?
484 MV Donald Redford Grab Hopper Dredger 26 November 1980 Manchester Ship Canal Co. Ltd 54 x ?m Lengthened and converted to suction dredging in 1990.
485 MT Traquair Gas Tanker 21 August 1981 Anchor Line Ltd 113.69 x 18.29m Her aft part was built at Ailsa Shipbuilders, Troon, yard 557. Both were launched on the same day, being completed at Ferguson's.[41]
486 MV Flying Phantom Firefighting Tug 2 July 1981 Clyde Shipping Company Ltd 37.95 x 9.68m On 19 December 2007, she was girted by bulk carrier MV Red Jasmine and subsequently capsized and sunk on the River Clyde.[42]
487 MV Vigilant Fishery Patrol 26 March 1982 Department of Agriculture & Fisheries, Scotland 71.4 x 11.71m
488 MV Star Capella Offshore Supply 23 September 1982 Star Offshore Services Marine Ltd 61.5 x 15.51m
489 MV Tirrick Tug 1 February 1983 Shetland Towage Ltd 37.44 x 11.82m
490 MV Shalder Tug 30 March 1983 Shetland Towage Ltd 37.44 x 11.82m

See also[edit]

Ferry fiasco - for the Scottish political controversy around the construction of the Glen Sannox and Glen Rosa.


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External links[edit]