A Moray town was given a major boost yesterday when a revived shipyard landed the contract to build a new dredger for the region’s ports.
The £2.4million vessel will be constructed in Buckie – and the project is likely to create new jobs.
The 8ft boat – which will be powered by two 500bhp engines – is expected to completed in spring of next year.
The job is the highest-profile one awarded to the fabrication facility at Buckie harbour since it was taken over by Macduff Shipyards last year after going into administration.
The firm’s managing director, John Watt, said the Buckie facility had been thriving since it reopened.
He said: “It’s an excellent contract for us to get, and it’s a challenging project as we’ve never built a dredger before.
“Since taking over at Buckie we have been building fish farm barges and we’ve been busy gradually building up the team.
“We will be taking on some more people to work on the dredger – but you can’t build a shipyard overnight and we’re taking one thing at a time.
“We have spent a lot of money knocking the place into shape and it’s rewarding to be offered a contract like this.
“It’s a very exciting time for our shipyard in Buckie.”
The contract for the work has yet to be formally signed but the Buckie yard is the preferred bidder.
The dredger will be used to clear debris from seabeds around Moray’s port entrances to maintain the desired water depth.
The vessel will be a replacement for the Shearwater, which the council sold more than two years ago.
The plan is for it to service harbours at Buckie, Burghead, Hopeman, Findochty, Portknockie and Cullen – as well as being available for hire.
It was designed by Macduff Ship Design Ltd, and will be capable to dredging to a depth of about 26ft with its bow-mounted excavator.
Councillor John Cowe, chairman of Moray Council’s economic development and infrastructure services committee, welcomed the news last night.
He said: “Our harbours are one of Moray’s biggest commercial assets and it is obviously important that we keep them accessible to shipping and to the ever-increasing number of pleasure craft.
“The new dredger represents a significant investment for the council and underlines our commitment to Buckie harbour, and to the increasing role which we hope it will play in future economic development in Moray.”
Stewart Cree, chairman of the local authority’s policy and resources committee, said: “The new dredger represents a significant investment for the council and underlines our commitment to Buckie harbour.”
Fochabers and Lhanbryde councillor Douglas Ross added: “I have followed this saga from afar, and that the dredger is being built in Buckie is to be welcomed.”
Moray Council has contracted out its dredging operations since the ageing Shearwater was disposed of to a company based in Rosyth.