The Ministry of Defence this week acted to quash reports that its request for new bids for a £300m ferry contract was designed to increase the UK element of the tenders.
Earlier this month the MoD asked the four bidders competing to build the six roll-on, roll-off ferries to resubmit their tenders. This led to speculation that the the ministry was attempting to boost the involvement of British shipyards in the tenders.
BAE Systems, which is leading the Sealion consortium, has warned that its Govan shipyard on the Clyde could close if it does not win the work. Cammell Laird on the Mersey and Harland & Wolff in Belfast are also eager to win construction subcontracts.
But this week the MoD insisted that its request was prompted only to improve the offers that are now on the table.
The bidders – which also include Danish group Maersk Sealand, Andrew Weir Shipping of the UK, and multinational consortium Novomar/Cobelfret/Grimaldi – had only been invited to review elements of their tenders because the MoD was not satisfied that they represented best value, an MoD spokesman said.
`There is no question of the process being rigged in favour of UK yards,’ the spokesman added. `The MoD will be strictly going for value for money and nothing else. All four bidders have been advised of that.’
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