Ferguson Marine Engineering

Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd is a shipyard located in Port Glasgow on the River Clyde in Scotland. It is the last remaining shipbuilder on the lower Clyde, and is currently the only builder of merchant ships on the river - the company's mainstay has long been Roll-on/roll-off ferries, primarily for Caledonian MacBrayne, the largest of which will operate between Ardrossan and Isle of Arran, the MV Glen Sannox, which is also Ferguson's largest product ever built. Ferguson's also built three of the world's first roll-on/roll-off Hybrid powered Car ferries MV Catriona, MV Hallaig and MV Lochinvar.

Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd (Shipbuilders)
State owned
HeadquartersPort Glasgow, Inverclyde, Scotland
Key people
Jim McColl, (Chairman)
Gerry Marshall (Chief Executive)
Number of employees
Over 400
ParentLithgows (1961-1970)
Scott Lithgow (1970-1977)
British Shipbuilders (1977-1989) Clyde Blowers Capital (2014-present)


The company was founded by the 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.[1] The Ferguson brothers acquired the freehold in the Newark yard in 1907. The company was purchased by John Slater Ltd (Amalgamated Industries) in 1918, but returned to control of the Ferguson family in the late 1920s. Lithgows Ltd purchased an interest in the business in 1955 after Bobby Ferguson's death[1] and took control of the Company in 1961. The company remained a separate entity within the Scott Lithgow group from 1969 to 1977.[1]

The company was nationalised and subsumed into British Shipbuilders in 1977. The business was merged with the Ailsa Shipbuilding Company to form Ferguson-Ailsa Ltd in 1980.[1] Ferguson and Ailsa were separated again in 1986 and Ferguson merged with Appledore Shipbuilders in Devon to form Appledore Ferguson. By the late 1980s the only yards still held in state ownership were the smaller Appledore and Ferguson yards.[2] Ferguson was demerged from Appledore and acquired by Greenock-based engineering firm Clark Kincaid in 1989 and started trading as Ferguson Shipbuilders.[1] Clark Kincaid itself was acquired by Kvaerner and became Kvaerner Kincaid in 1990.[3]

Ferguson Shipbuilders Ltd was sold by Kvaerner to Ferguson Marine plc in 1991. The entire shareholding in Ferguson Marine was acquired by the Holland House Electrical Group in 1995.[4]

In August 2014, the shipyard appointed KPMG as administrators, placing the company into administration. In September 2014, Clyde Blowers Capital, an industrial company owned by Jim McColl, purchased the yard for £600,000; following the acquisition by Clyde Blowers Capital, the company was renamed Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd.[5]

Continued shipbuilding

In August 2015, government-owned Caledonian Maritime Assets 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.[6] Originally intended for delivery during 2018, construction difficulties (the reasons for which are in dispute) have led to a two-year delay for the first ship, Glen Sannox, which was launched in November 2017.[7][8]

Ferguson Marine is 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.[9]

In December 2018 it was reported that two orders worth £5.4 million had been secured and that three more for fishing vessels, totaling £11 million, were in the pipeline.[10] By July 2019 the ferry dispute had led to delays in closing the trawler contracts..[11]

On 9 August 2019 notice was given that the company would be put into administration.[8] 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.[12]

Shipyard facilities

Building Berth/Slipway 4000m2 (120m x 60m concrete reinforced building berth). 1 x 36.5 ton traveling tower crane

    • Main Fabrication shed
    • Build Bay 1-1.100m2(L55m x W20m x H9m) 2 x overhead cranes
    • Build Bay 2-2.400m2(L120m x W20m x H9m) 4 x overhead cranes
    • New build Bay 3-1.950m2(L50m x W30m x H25m) 2x 75/2x 10 ton overhead cranes

Subsea/Offshore Fabrication Shed 1225m2 (L70m X W15m X H10m)

Quayside Facilities- Berth 1 89m/ Berth 2 50m

Weekly Fabrication output 150 tonnes

Yard working area of 10.498m2

List of vessels built since 2000

Ferguson Shipbuilders Ltd

Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd 2014 +

  • Caledonian Maritime Assets
    • MV Catriona (2016) (43.5 x 12.2 meters) (Diesel electric hybrid Ro-Ro Ferry)
    • MV Glen Sannox (2019) (102.4 x 17 meters) (LNG/marine diesel hybrid ROPAX Ferry)
    • Hull 802 (2019/20) (102.4 x 17 meters) (LNG/marine diesel hybrid ROPAX Ferry)
  • Mangistau ACV Solutions Ltd (part of CMI Offshore Ltd Group)
    • ACB argymak (Q1 2020) (55 x 24 meters) (Air Cushion Barge)
  • Inverlussa Marine Services
    • MV Helen Rice (2019) (21 x 8.35 meters) (Aquaculture Support Vessel)
    • MV Kallista Helen (2020) (26.5 x 12 meters) (Aquaculture Support Vessel)
  • Orkney Islands Council
    • Hull 806 (2020/21) steel will be cut in October 2019 (39.9 x 10 meters) (Hydrogen hybrid Ro-Ro ferry)

Potential future shipbuilding

Ferguson marine is part of two consortium's for the type 31 frigate programme for 5 frigate which is worth £1.25 billion these vessels are for the Royal Navy. The consortium's are with Babcock International, BMT Group, Thales Group, Harland & Wolff with their Arrowhead 140 design based on Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate hull form and with Atlas Elektronik UK, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, Harland & Wolff with what is thought to be the MEKO A-200 design.[13]

On the 25 December 2018 in the Greenock Telegraph it was reported "in Ferguson's annual accounts last week,chief executive Garry Marshall confirmed that two orders worth £5.4 million had been secured as of November and that three more were in the pipeline with 'further letter of intents for three fishing vessels totaling £11 million."[14]

On the 7 July 2019 in the Financial Times it was reported "Mr McColl said plans to build large fishing trawlers had been slowed by uncertainty created by the ferry dispute, which had left the yard’s financials a "complete mess". But he said that the flow of work showed that it could be viable." "Other than these two ferries, we've got a really buoyant business here." he said.[15]


  1. Goodwin, Karin (5 March 2007). "History of a shipbuilding family". BBC News.
  2. Bowen, David (4 September 1994). "Britain misses the boat: After years in the doldrums, there are new opportunities for the shipbuilding industry worldwide, but the once-great yards of Britain may now be too weak to take advantage". The Independent. London.
  3. "Why Scotland must redesign its vision of shipbuilding to become industry leader again". The Herald on Sunday. 7 September 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  4. "Port Glasgow, Ferguson Ailsa Shipyard". Canmore. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  5. "Ferguson Shipbuilders sold to Clyde Blowers Capital". Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  6. "Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited- announces Scottish shipbuilder as preferred tenderer for two large ferries contract". CMAL. 31 August 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  7. "IN Pictures -- Launch Of Ferry Glen Sannox At Port Glasgow". Inverclyde Now. 21 November 2017. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  8. "Clyde shipyard Ferguson set to go into administration". BBC News. 9 August 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  9. "How many ships are the Clyde shipyards expecting to build?". UK Defence Journal. 25 February 2019. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  10. "Ferguson Marine wins contract to build two new vessels". Greenock Telegraph. 25 December 2018. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  11. "Ferry dispute threatens last civilian shipyard on the Clyde". Financial Times. 7 July 2019. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  12. "Ferguson shipyard nationalised by Scottish government". BBC. 16 August 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  13. "How many ships are the Clyde shipyards expecting to build?". UK Defence Journal. 25 February 2019. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  14. "Ferguson Marine wins contract to build two new vessels". Greenock Telegraph. 25 December 2018. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  15. "Ferry dispute threatens last civilian shipyard on the Clyde". Financial Times. 7 July 2019. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
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