Deep-water facility could be yard’s lifeline

HOPEFUL ...  the under-threat McNulty site, and, inset, GMB official Mick Blench.
HOPEFUL ... the under-threat McNulty site, and, inset, GMB official Mick Blench.

A SOUTH Tyneside yard’s deep water facility could prove a lifeline as it battles for survival, a union leader said today.

A potential buyer is being sought for McNulty Offshore, where 100 jobs were axed this week after the yard went into administration.

GMB regional officer Mick Blench

GMB regional officer Mick Blench

Tough international trading conditions triggered the shock job losses at the yard in Commercial Road, South Shields.

But GMB regional officer Mick Blench believes McNulty’s strategic site on the Tyne could prove attractive to potential new owners.

He said: “The deep water facility at the yard must be the deepest on the Tyne, being so close to the mouth of the river.

“Plus, the fact that there are several jobs waiting to be completed at McNulty’s could move things forward.”

But Mr Blench sounded a note of caution, adding: “What we don’t want is for someone to come in and flatten the site.

“I’d like to think the yard could be taken over as a going concern, so offshore work can continue at McNulty.

“Hopefully, the remaining contracts can be completed in the short-term, but we need a long-term solution to secure the future of one of the last yards of its kind in the country, never mind Tyneside.”

A working yard for more than 100 years, McNulty Offshore has secured a global reputation for its offshore projects during the past 20 years.

Several oil and gas contracts, plus work on an accommodation block for the Auk Alpha offshore platform in the North Sea remain unfinished at the yard while the search continues for a new owner.

But a spokesman for administrators KPMG said there is so far no news on a potential buyer for McNulty.

The yard faced an earlier crisis six years ago, after a long-running contract dispute with a French company, Technip Offshore.

A total of 32 staff remain at McNulty to assist the administration team.

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