SENIOR Inverclyde councillor Chris McEleny has called on the Scottish Government to make a last-minute deal with Clyde Blowers to protect future work at Ferguson shipyard after company bosses announced they have begun the process of administration.

McEleny has also urged the Scottish Government to make assurances to protect 350 jobs currently at risk at the Port Glasgow yard after Ferguson Marine directors served notice of their intent to go into administration this week. Chief executive Gerry Marshall said the decision was taken “with great regret and disappointment”.

The announcement comes just five years after the yard, which is the last commercial shipyard on the Clyde, previously entered administration until it was bought by current parent-company Clyde Blowers Capital (CBC).

Ferguson Marine had won the £97 million fixed-price contract to build two dual-fuel ferries: the MV Glenn Sannox, which was due to come into service in Arran last year, and a second Hull 802 boat for CalMac, to be deployed in the Outer Hebrides.

However, the ferry order, which is being procured through a public-sector agency Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), appears to have triggered the shipbuilder’s difficulties.

The yard had also previously won a bid for £9m of work to build two fishing vessels for Shetland, but due to the dispute with CMAL the vessels have now reportedly been awarded to a foreign yard.

McEleny, the SNP leader for Inverclyde Council, said he was “bitterly disappointed” that the shipyard is once again facing administration and has called for the winding up of CMAL.

“It was my view that Clyde Blowers had made what I believed members of the public viewed as a fair offer to share the pain of cost with the Scottish Government to ensure the completion of the vessels, but more importantly, protect the long term future of the yard,” he said.

“Once the dust is settled, I think it’s essential that consideration is made on winding up CMAL as an organisation. I no longer believe they have the confidence of industry or the public to carry out the role they have been tasked to do.”

A full parliamentary inquiry into the company’s demise has also been called for by Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Jamie Greene.

He said: “The blame for this fiasco lies solely at the feet of the SNP government who have recklessly mismanaged this contract, wasted hundreds of millions of pounds of public money and put the entire marine industry at risk.

“SNP ministers must be held to account over this entire fiasco. It is impossible to chart a way forward for the yard until we get to the bottom of both why things have gone so financially awry and what can now be done differently to secure a longer-term future for Scotland’s shipbuilding industry.”

The shipyard’s parent company CBC, owned by industrial tycoon Jim McColl, also criticised both CMAL and the Scottish Government for failing to resolve the situation.

CBC said in a statement: “We understand that this decision has not been taken lightly and is fundamentally due to CMAL and the Scottish Government’s inability to find a resolution to the additional costs encountered during the build of the two prototype LNG dual-fuelled ferries.”

A CMAL spokeswoman said that the company is keen that the future of the shipyard and its workforce is secured, and a solution is found that will allow the yard to deliver the ferries.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said the priority remains to ensure the completion of the vessels under construction, secure jobs for the workforce and protect the future of shipbuilding at the site.