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EU's rules tie shipyards in knots

As a Dumbarton-born Merchant Navy officer of 40 years I am astounded by the naivety of Angus Robertson MP (Shipyards are "doomed", News, January 20).

The orders which come in to our yards are for military vessels as these are the only kind that can be built at any cost under EU rules and our defence policy in this matter can be independent. Caledonian MacBrayne, however, apart from recent small vessel orders, must accept the lowest tender when EU funds are involved, which has meant all recent large ferries have come from Poland with the new Stornoway vessel allocated to Germany.

We did build Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships, large merchant-style vessels, which supply the Royal Navy in service but the next batch of these have been ordered from South Korea.

Price is now the decision-maker, not skill or patriotism. If the reasons cited by Mr Robertson were to be taken at face value then we would still be building ships in Clydebank, Greenock and, who knows, perhaps even Denny's, who built the best ferries in the world for generations.

David Fyfe


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