A MORAY shipyard which made its name building fishing boats is enjoying a new dawn in the 21st century constructing vessels for offshore windfarms.
Buckie Shipyard has delivered its first windfarm service catamaran, named the Penmon Point, to Turbine Transfers.
The aluminium vessel, measuring more than 50ft, left the shipyard recently to begin work in Belgium.
A second catamaran is being built and is due to be delivered by the end of next month, with more planned for delivery early next year.
Buckie Shipyard said the new line of work had allowed it to take on eight trainees and increase the scope and skill of its existing 40-strong workforce while still developing its core refit and repair business.
Director and general manager Colin Taylor said: “The creation of this facility is one of the first steps that the new management team has taken in the development of the business into new areas.
“We have now been able to provide a means to meet the demand that there is for these vessels now and as the expansion of offshore windfarms continues.”
The former Cruickshank’s lemonade factory in the town, which closed in February last year, has been adapted for fabrication work.
When the aluminium hulls are finished they are moved the quarter-mile downhill by road to the main yard for finishing and then on to the slipway.
Buckie Shipyard received £45,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise for the factory transformation and training, which will ultimately lead to 16 skilled jobs.
Mandy Holmes, of HIE, said it was money well spent. “The new facility will allow the business to grow into new markets and it is great news that the first aluminium windfarm service catamaran has now been built at Buckie,” she added.
Ben Colman, of South Boats Special Projects, which has teamed up with the shipyard for the new line of vessels, said: “Penmon Point is a credit to the guys at Buckie.”