The UK’s first all-electric powered workboat will be built in the Western Isles in a move that will create 25 jobs and boost the local economy.
It follows an agreement with Stornoway Port, which will see a leading Devon company relocate to build a range of vessels at a new marine engineering facility at Goat Island.
The move means shipbuilding will returning to the Western Isles for the first time in more than a century.
Sally Reynolds of Stornoway Port told STV News: “We are absolutely delighted. Stornoway Ports has an fantastic image looking forward and has put in a lot of investment and development for growth.
“So I’m really pleased to have built this building especially for work boats and now we are going to see them built here by an excellent company.”
The deal will see the family business relocate to Stornoway in a move that will initially create 25 local jobs.
Ms Reynolds added: “Any company coming in boosts the islands. I’m just really pleased. It’s not just 25 jobs here but the wider economic improvement to the island. It will just be lovely to see boats being built in Stornoway for first time in 100 years.”
Alex Macleod, chief executive at Stornoway Port, said: “We are excited to embark on this journey with Coastal Workboats.
“This partnership reaffirms our commitment to fostering innovation and growth within the marine industry. The facility at Goat Island is world-class, with overhead cranes specifically designed for vessel construction and we are thrilled to support Coastal Workboats as they undertake these ambitious projects.‘’
Coastal Workboats is a leading builder of steel and aluminium commercial workboats and provider of associated support services.
The company is based between Devon and Scotland, with the new Stornoway facility becoming Coastal Workboats’ primary fabrication centre
Work begins immediately on its pioneering vessel, a multi-million pound electric ferry.
Coastal Workboats’ director Brian Pogson said: “As a family-run company, we’ve taken pride in building Coastal Workboats on a foundation of community; actively engaging with a local workforce and supplier network throughout each chapter of our work.
“We’re therefore thrilled to continue this family and friends ethos with our move to Stornoway – investing in, learning from and growing with a fantastic community with a national reputation.”
When complete, the vessel will be trialled on inter island ferry routes in Shetland in 2025.
Mr Pogson added: “We want to go down this route of clean maritime and clean energy so it’s a great opportunity and this site in Stornoway and the investment being made into the port makes it an exciting time.”
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