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Titanic builder sinking fast

Belfast-based Harland and Wolff Heavy Industries Ltd, arguably Belfasts most iconic brand as a construction company specialising in ship repair, conversion, and offshore construction, is now facing administration and possible closure. BDO Northern Island has today been formally appointed to oversee the Belfast shipyard. The yard has been facing financial difficulties, with parent company Dolphin Drilling ASA. (formerly Fred. Olsen Energy ASA) announcing last year that it was exploring selling it amidst restructuring.

Workers at the site and trade unions have been lobbying for support from the government, with calls for nationalisation. The government determined that it was a commercial issue however. Potential buyers include MJM group, which had been in exclusive negotiations with Harland and Wolff before abruptly pulling out two weeks ago. The US-based Flacks Group has also reportedly expressed interest in the acquisition of the yard.

Harland & Wolff is famous for having built the majority of the ships intended for the White Star Line. The yard was established in 1861 by Yorkshireman Edward Harland and a German, Gustav Wolff. Between 1909 and 1911 it supported construction of the RMS Titanic constructed on Queens Island, now known as the Titanic Quarter, in Belfast Harbour. Harland and Wolff had to demolish three existing slipways and build two new ones, the largest ever constructed up to that time and went on to employ over 30,000 people in its hey day, however now employs just 130.

Harland and Wolff still has one of Europes largest heavy engineering facilities. Although originally developed to create some of the worlds iconic ocean-going vessels the facilities became available for a broad range of engineering projects as its facilities are able to handle the large structures.

The yard under the management of Fred Olsen Energy had been involved in manufacturing components for offshore wind farms including
Walney Extension and East Anglia ONE projects off the UK coast and the Borkum Riffgrund 2 project in German North Sea.  

The name was changed to Dolphin Drilling ASA at the end of 2018 and was followed in 2019 by the resignations of Anette E. Olsen and Richard Olav Aa effective 23 May 2019.  Anette S. Olsen  is MD of Bonheur ASA and holds the position as managing director as part of the managerial services provided by Fred. Olsen & Co. to Bonheur ASA. In turn Bonheur has 100% direct ownership in Fred. Olsen Renewables AS, in Fred. Olsen Ocean Ltd., 100% indirect ownership in Fred. Olsen Windcarrier AS, 100% indirect ownership in Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Ltd., 54% direct ownership in NHST Media Group AS (publisher of e.g. the  business newspaper Dagens Næringsliv), 100% direct ownership in the office building in Fred. Olsens gate 2 and Stavenes Byggeselskap AS and a direct ownership of 12.6% in Koksa Eiendom AS. Shortly after the resignations the remaining management was removed and replaced.

BDO are a firm of accountants and business advisers, having partners and over 200 staff across the UK, with several partners based in Belfast itself..  

For more information on the offshore wind farms industry,
click here. Alternatively, you can view projects across the globe using 4C Offshores interactive map.

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