Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Thursday, October 28, 1999 Published at 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK

UK: Northern Ireland

Cash lifeline for shipyard

Agreement reached on completion of drill ship contract

The Belfast shipyard Harland and Wolff is receiving a £19m stage payment from a major customer as part of an attempt to settle a dispute which was threatening the yard's future.

Harland and Wolff Holdings is currently working on two deep sea drill ships for the US oil company Global Marine.

One is almost complete and the other is part built.

During construction Global Marine asked for major changes to be made to the job specification which have cost approximately £100m.

[ image: Contract changes pushed up costs by £100m]
Contract changes pushed up costs by £100m
A dispute arose over how much of the extra cost should be met by the customer and how much by the shipyard.

Harland and Wolff had warned that a failure to reach agreement could have serious consequences for the financial future of the company, its international reputation and its ability to attract orders.

Now both sides have issued a joint statement saying they have had "positive and productive discussions concerning the completion of the two drillships", including an agreement on a stage payment.

The shipyard's chief executive, Brynjulv Mugaas, said: "Our recent discussions with Global Marine have resulted in positive steps towards securing the funding needed to complete construction of the drillships.

"These discussions also included representatives of the shipyard workforce in recognition of its crucial role in ensuring the timely completion of the vessels," he said.

Working together

Global Marine chief operating officer Jon Marshall said the two companies would be working together to determine completion costs for the drillships.

He said: "We will then work together with Harland and Wolff and other interested parties on the development of suitable guarantees and funding that Global Marine will offer Harland and Wolff to ensure completion of the vessels and contribute towards the long term viability of the shipyard."

Peter Williamson, regional secretary of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union, welcomed the progress that had been made.

He said: "The determination of the two companies to find a way forward together will help alleviate many of the concerns amongst the workforce and the wider community.

"The employees and the unions are prepared to play their role fully in creating the conditions which enable timely completion of the drillships and secure the long term future of Harland and Wolff."

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Relevant Stories

24 Sep 99 | Northern Ireland
Workers walk out in shipyard dispute

23 Sep 99 | Northern Ireland
Shipyard seeks orders as drill ship named

14 Apr 99 | The Company File
Harland stays afloat

Internet Links

Global Marine

Harland and Wolff

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Next steps for peace

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Machete used in sectarian attack

Unionists face historic choice

Tireless campaigner for peace

Clinton calls on unionists to back Trimble

UDP meets de Chastelain

We have basis for peace - Mitchell

New crackdown on dissidents

Big Apple debut for NI film-makers

Congress rules on RUC training

Selling the settlement

Mitchell intervenes to help shipyard

Shot fired at house

George Mitchell bids farewell

Talks parties' praise for Mitchell