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BiFab - the operator of the Arnish yard on Lewis is one of the main contenders for marine wind farm contract.


The company’s yard at Arnish has ceased production with the vast majority of staff paid off as the island’s share of the work from the Breatrice offshore wind farm ended.  


If successful, the contract to build six foundations structures for the Kincardine Offshore Windfarm Project could provide a lifeline for the manufacturing firm which has an empty order book.


BiFab is up against only one other rival for the work.


An announcement may be made next month.


BiFab says it is tendering for a number of projects in renewables and oil and gas sectors and hope to “secure further work across each of the BiFab sites and maintain continuity of employment in the business” beyond the present Beatrice contract.


The firm highlighted securing those projects is “critical.”


GMB Scotland organiser Alan Ritchie said Scottish yards should not be struggling given the development of renewable energy within the country.


Only three per cent of the £2.6 billion project contract was given to Scottish firms and politicians have a responsibility to ensure more work goes to homegrown companies.


MSP Alasdair Allan said he backs a cross-party approach to the Kincardine Offshore Windfarm Project to award the fabrication project to BiFab.


Alasdair Allan said: “I have continually highlighted the importance of Arnish to our island economy. I am pleased that the Scottish Government remains committed to investigating long-term solutions for the yard and is working with BiFab to identify future investors.


“I will continue to maintain regular communications with the government, stakeholders and Bifab workers at Arnish to ensure that the yard’s long-term future remains firmly on the agenda.”


He added: “Awarding this contract to BiFab would not only provide some short-term certainty to the yards but it would also demonstrate a commitment to the Scottish economy, and it would be a ringing endorsement of the talent, hard-work, dedication and commitment of the Arnish workforce.”


In November, the Scottish Government rescued the firm from the brink of administration by mediating in a payment dispute with the main contractor for the Beatrice wind project.


A £15 million loan pledge also helped BiFab through its severe cash flow problems.


BiFab in running for lifeline tender

18 March 2018