Inverclyde chiefs have called in police after migrant workers were drafted in to work at Ferguson Marine during lockdown and breached Covid-19 restrictions.

Images emerged over the weekend showing around 13 eastern European workers standing close to one another with suitcases as they queued outside a cabin/office at the shipyard.

The pictures sparked fury as politicians and members of the public slammed the decision to draft in foreign labour while the coronavirus infection rate rockets.

Ferguson's responded by blaming a pipe-fitting sub-contractor, stating that the workers had arrived 'without our prior knowledge or agreement'.

The company told the Greenock Telegraph, the men had been collecting accommodation details and had 'failed to observe Covid-19 safety requirements' and that they had been ordered to self-isolate as a result.

The company added that the Scottish Government had 'made it clear that manufacturing can continue to operate during lockdown', but the following day, Ferguson's bosses unexpectedly announced a week-long shutdown of all production at the yard.

Senior elected member and health and social care convenor Councillor Robert Moran has now fired off letters to the local authority's chief executive and senior officers, calling for a full probe into the actions of the Scottish Government-owned company.

He raised concerns about claims the workers were brought into the area and put into local accommodation, with some reportedly having travelled all the way from Portsmouth.

Councillor Moran said: "I wrote to the Inverclyde Council chief executive Aubrey Fawcett and head of service for public protection and Covid recovery Martin McNab, asking them to contact Ferguson's and start an immediate investigation.

"I have since spoken to officers and I have been assured that this matter has now been passed onto Police Scotland and I welcome this.

"It is a serious breach of Covid protocol at Ferguson's.

"This is scandal, an absolute scandal what is happening here after everything we have been through in Inverclyde with the virus.

"The workers brought in are also being put at risk.

"This needs to be dealt with and questions need to be asked of Ferguson's and the Scottish Government."

Senior SNP councillor Chris McEleny has also expressed concerns about the situation while LibDem Councillor Ciano Rebecchi described the situation as 'a serious matter which needs to be investigated'.

Inverclyde Council today said it was aware of the situation and monitoring it.

A spokesperson said: “We’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone – businesses and individuals – of their legal and moral duties to follow the latest health and safety advice to help slow the spread of the virus.”

Ferguson Marine blamed pipe-fitting subcontractor HB Hydraulics for the situation.

A spokesperson said: "We are extremely disappointed at HB Hydraulics’ failure in this matter and have firmly reminded them of their responsibility to Covid-19 guidelines.

"We have insisted the workers self-isolate and they will not start work at the shipyard until we are absolutely satisfied all individuals are Covid-free.

"We understand that although of eastern European origin, all the individuals have the right to work in the UK.

"As a matter of due diligence, we have asked our subcontractor to supply the relevant paperwork."

Ferguson's will now be closed until January 18, with production workers at both the Port Glasgow yard and Greenock warehouse placed on special leave at full basic pay.

The Greenock Telegraph yesterday asked the government to address the concerns raised over the situation.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We expect all businesses and individuals to fully comply with the public health guidelines that are vital in our efforts to suppress the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.

“The Scottish Government stands firm on its commitment to the vessels, the workforce and the yard.

“The delivery of the vessels is critical to supporting the lifeline ferry network by adding two new badly needed vessels to the CalMac fleet.”