THE glory days of Clyde shipbuilding may be long gone, but there’s still a special atmosphere around the launch of a new vessel on the Firth.
Such was the case at the Ardmaleish Boatbuilding Company on Friday as a newly-completed large landing craft for the Scottish Salmon Company entered the water for the first time.
The Clare Anne was named after Clare White, the Scottish Salmon Company’s group financial controller, who launched the vessel shortly after 1pm, to the cheers of the watching crowd, which included the Ardmaleish workforce and pupils from nearby North Bute Primary School.
Work on a second, identical, vessel is already under way at the yard, just outside Port Bannatyne, and a third may follow after that.
Ewen Ferguson, managing director of the Ardmaleish Boatbuilding Company, said: “Securing the contract to build these two ships is definitely a boost for us.
“We’ve taken on four apprentices, and we’re employing 29 men at the moment, which is a big contribution to the economy of Bute.”
Iain McIntyre, the Scottish Salmon Company’s production manager for the south of Scotland, said: “We have been working closely with Ardmaleish for some time now to maintain our current fleet.
“The quality of the workmanship has been excellent, and we are extremely pleased with the Clare Anne.”
Other new vessels built at Ardmaleish in recent years include the trawler Spes Bona V, the replica puffer Maryhill and the landing craft Marnock.
The company also has a contract to carry out overhaul work on 11 of Caledonian MacBrayne’s smaller ferries each year.
* More on this story in the next issue of The Buteman – on sale on Thursday, January 19.