Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 13 November 2019

Belfast shipyard that built Titanic saved from closure in £6 million deal

Jobs at Harland and Wolff were left in danger after the shipyard’s Norwegian parent company went into administration

Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. AFP
Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. AFP

The Belfast shipyard that built the ill-fated Titanic has been saved from closure by a London-based energy company in a £6 million deal.

Harland and Wolff was owned by Norwegian firm Dolphin Drilling, which went into administration in August putting workers jobs at the plant at risk.

Energy infrastructure firm InfraStrata made the announcement on Tuesday, adding that all 79 workers who did not opt for voluntary redundancy earlier in the year will be retained.

"Harland and Wolff is a landmark asset and its reputation as one of the finest multi-purpose fabrication facilities in Europe is testament to its highly skilled team in Belfast," InfraStrata Chief Executive John Wood said.

"Our Islandmagee Gas Storage Project will benefit greatly from their expertise in the energy sector, both technically and economically, and we look forward to growing the workforce significantly in the coming years."

Harland and Wolff opened in 1861, building the Olympic-class trio of opulent ocean liners, including the RMS Olympic, RMS Britannic as well as the RMS Titanic, which hit an iceberg and sank in 1912.

However, the company fell into decline towards the middle of the 20th century as ocean travel became less appealing.

Julian Smith, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said he was delighted by the deal, which he said “retained the skills and experience of the existing workforce".

"I firmly believe that the shipyard has a promising future and that InfraStrata's plans present an exciting opportunity for both Belfast and Northern Ireland's manufacturing and energy sectors," he said.

Updated: October 1, 2019 03:58 PM

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