CAMPAIGNERS fear Inchgreen dry dock is destined to become a scrapyard after it emerged that it is being lined up as an oil rig decommissioning site.
Pressure group activist Robert Buirds claims the Greenock facility is to be leased by owners Peel Ports to specialist firm CessCon Decom for the break-up of offshore infrastructure.
Mr Buirds, who set up the Save Inchgreen group two years ago, says it would be a major blow to the campaign to revitalise the dry dock and deliver a jobs boost for the area.
The former shipyard worker and fellow activists also have environmental concerns about Inchgreen potentially being used for decommissioning.
Mr Buirds said: “This goes against everything we are trying to achieve.
“It would take the pressure off Peel Ports a bit because they are supposedly going to make use of Inchgreen. “This is a tactic to put a spoke in the campaign’s wheels relative to the dry dock.”
CessCon Decom has a presence at sites elsewhere in Scotland, particularly at the former coal-handling port at Hunterston in Ayrshire.
The Scottish Government has set aside millions of pounds to help make the site a decommissioning hub – but the idea has drawn fierce criticism from Clyde coast campaigners who have environmental concerns about such a development and fear it would hamper tourism.
Mr Buirds said: “Are they coming up here because Inverclyde is a soft touch?
“Peel Ports have turned Inverclyde into an industrial graveyard now we fear they want to turn us into a scrapyard, not the industrial regeneration we are campaigning for.”
Following the nationalisation of nearby Ferguson Marine, Mr Buirds is stepping up his call for the Scottish Government to take over the dry dock as a national asset to complement the shipyard.
Former Ferguson’s owner Jim McColl expressed interest in Inchgreen after buying the Port Glasgow yard.
His advances were rebuffed by Peel Ports because it owns rival shipbuilder Cammell Laird in Birkenhead.
Mr Buirds has written to finance and economy secretary Derek Mackay, who has overseen the nationalisation of Ferguson’s, about the matter.
The campaigner said: “With the expanding, skilled workforce at Ferguson’s, Inchgreen would provide opportunities for them to create additional commercial opportunities and generate a healthy order book to provide stability for its workforce and a return on Scotland’s investment.”
Peel Ports declined to comment when contacted by the Tele.
CessCon Decom were also approached for a response.
Spurce: Greenock Telegraph online