The launch of the 21-metre workboat Helen Rice is not only good news for its owner, Inverlussa Marine, but also demonstrates the value of Scottish aquaculture to the struggling Clyde shipyards.
It is the first vessel to be completed since Ferguson Marine came into public ownership, having gone into administration last year.
Julie Hesketh-Laird, CEO of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, said: "The launch of Inverlussa's Helen Rice is a fantastic example of how a thriving salmon farming sector is helping to support Scottish manufacturing, businesses and communities."
"We look forward to seeing this innovative vessel at sea, serving Scotland's salmon farmers as they grow the number one fish of choice for British shoppers."
Scotland’s Economy Secretary, Derek Mackay, who attended the naming ceremony, said: “This is another significant milestone as we start the journey to a new sustainable future for Ferguson Marine.
“This is a Scottish-built vessel, provided to a Scottish customer and serving the needs of the Scottish aquaculture industry. It is hugely encouraging that the yard has been able to support our island economies in this way.
“My aim for the last two years has always remained the same – to keep the yard open and not just to finish the vessels currently being built, but to secure a future for the company in the years ahead. The high quality of the workmanship on the Helen Rice is a tribute to the skills of the Ferguson workforce.”
Inverlussa Marine Services managing director Ben Wilson said: “We were delighted to build this vessel in Scotland. I would like to thank Ferguson Marine and their workforce for delivering such a well-crafted vessel.
“We are looking forward to Helen Rice starting work providing important services to the Scottish fish farm industry. The delivery of this vessel continues our strategy of investing in the best vessels and crew.”
It is the first of two vessels due to be launched from the shipyard for Inverlussa this year. The second vessel, Patricia Matheson, is due to be delivered in the summer and is expected to be fitted with a new high capacity Thermolicer, will be going on long-term charter to Scottish Sea Farms.