The last commercial shipbuilder on the River Clyde has gone into administration with the loss of 70 jobs.
Workers at the Ferguson shipyard in Port Glasgow, Inverclyde, which dates back to 1902, were told of the development this morning after the companies Ferguson Shipbuilders, Newark Joiners and Ferguson-Ailsa all went into administration following "significant cash flow pressure" in recent months.
A total of 70 workers were made redundant with immediate effect while seven staff members will remain in place as the administration process gets under way.
Administrators who were appointed yesterday said they are assessing all available options to complete the group's remaining work in progress and whether an early sale of its business, infrastructure and assets can be secured.
Blair Nimmo, joint administrator and head of restructuring for KPMG in Scotland, said: "Ferguson Shipbuilders is a leading name in the industry with a rich heritage dating back more than 110 years and is the last commercial shipbuilder operating on the River Clyde.
"The group's infrastructure and unique offering has earned it global success in recent years, principally from the building of two 'world first' diesel hybrid ferries. However, a lack of significant orders and mounting cash flow pressure has led to the group's inability to continue trading.
"We would like to thank staff for their co-operation during this difficult period. We will be working with employees and the relevant Government agencies to ensure that the full range of support is available to all those affected."
Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said a task force is being set up to look at securing new opportunities for the yard.
"The loss of any jobs in Port Glasgow is a devastating blow and we will work closely with the administrator to deliver an integrated service to those losing their jobs," he said.
"We will also convene a task force which will aim to secure new opportunities for this commercial shipyard on the Clyde. I have spoken to the leader of the council and we have agreed to work together on the task force to secure these opportunities. I will visit Port Glasgow on Monday to start this process.
"The yard facilities, along with the expertise and experience of the workforce, are significant assets. The Scottish Government and partners have a strong track record of engagement in the local area to secure employment.
"Over the past two and a half years we has supported Ferguson Shipbuilders with contracts worth more than £20m for two new hybrid ferries. We will do everything we can to promote a strong future for commercial shipbuilding on the Clyde and remain hopeful that a new owner can be found to continue the proud tradition and innovative engineering of Ferguson Shipbuilders."
He also said the Scottish Government is working with the administrators to provide as much support as possible to affected employees.
Jim Moohan, chairman of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions, said: "Workers with 30 to 45 years of service have been told to pick up their tools and leave the yard and that is an absolute scandal.
"It is the last commercial shipbuilders left and that is the end of hundreds of years of history. (First Minister) Alex Salmond and the Scottish Government must have known the perilous position the company was in. Direct intervention could save the yard and they must meet with the unions for discussions."
Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said: "My sympathy goes out to all the workers at the Ferguson shipyard whose jobs are threatened and we will do all we can to prevent the closure of the yard.
"Scotland's shipbuilding industry is a vital part of our economy and supports many well paid jobs, but it is still largely dependent on defence contracts and this latest blow highlights just how difficult it is to win other contracts.
"But I believe we can still save this shipyard and every avenue must be explored. We stand ready to work with the Scottish Government and do all we can to prevent job losses as a matter of priority."