After 110 years of continuous operation Buckie Shipyard is set to close with the loss of 68 jobs.
The news that will shock many people in the area was delivered this afternoon in a statement on behalf of the owners, the Glasgow-based Lithgows Group.
A recent move into the offshore wind industry was expected to ensure a future for the yard which has a turnover of around £3million – however, cash flow issues has forced the owners to seek voluntary administration.
The statement read: “The administration has been caused by severe cash flow problems stemming from unsustainable costs, a marked contraction in demand and intensive price-led competition.”
Assets from the business are expected to go on sale as joint administrators Ian Fraser and Tom MacLennan take on the task of winding down the business. Mr Fraser said that directors and staff had worked exceptionally hard to save the business but in the end saw administration as “the only option”.
Immediate reaction to the news came from Moray’s MP, Angus Robertson, who said: “This news is a very worrying development in Buckie and I sincerely hope that the Administration process can result in a new start for the company and not a loss of an important business in the town.
“Buckie Shipyard has a long history in the east of Moray with its prominent role in Buckie Harbour and it will be a difficult time for the 68 workforce whose jobs are affected by this decision.
“With the prospect of good renewables related work on the horizon I hope that investors will see the strong potential that I believe the yard and the harbour has and I will now be meeting with Highlands and Islands Enterprise to see what can be done to help get the best outcome from this situation.”
The town’s SNP councillor, Gordon McDonald, added: “The changes that have occurred in the fishing industry over the last 30 years with bigger and bigger boats and a corresponding reduction in smaller vessels has had a significant impact on yards like Buckie and this news is clearly a shock for the town.
“The recent loss of RNLI work has also been significant. Public bodies in Moray such as The Moray Council and Highlands & Islands Enterprise will, I am sure, work together in an effort to get the best possible outcome in the coming weeks for the employees affected and for the town as whole.”
Mr Robertson has sought an early meeting with Highlands and Islands Enterprise to discuss the situation.