Harland and Wolff goes into administration

Harland and Wolff, a UK shipyard with a history of more than 150 years, has appointed administers and is likely to request for insolvency, BBC reports.

According to a spokesperson of the shipyard, the UK government has named accountancy firm BDO as administrators to oversee the restructuring of the Belfast-based company and an insolvency request is expected to be filed at the High Court in Belfast on Tuesday.

The shipyard, which built the iconic Titantic and employed more than 30,000 employees at its peak time in the 1930s, has only around 120 full time employees today. It has not built a ship since 2003, when it transformed its business to move into the renewable energy sector.

The worker’s union has been staging a protest at the shipyard for over a week and called for the shipyard to be nationalised to continue business. However, East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson told the BBC that officials had advised against government intervention.

Harland and Wolff was nationalised in 1975 and was purchased by Norway’s Fred Olsen Energy in 1989. Fred Olsen Energy, now known as Dolphin Drilling, filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year and put Harland and Wolff up for sale. A deadline for the shipyard to find a buyer expired on Monday.

The administrator is expected to restart a sales process for the shipyard.

Jason Jiang

Jason is one of the most prolific writers on the diverse China shipping & logistics industry and his access to the major maritime players with business in China has proved an invaluable source of exclusives. Having been working at Asia Shipping Media since inception, Jason is the chief correspondent of Splash and associate editor of Maritime CEO magazine. Previously he had written for a host of titles including Supply Chain Asia, Cargo Facts and Air Cargo Week.


  1. It might be instructive for some future historian to compute the cost to the British taxpayer of Harland and Wolff.

    As a shipyard it was badly located, on an island with no steelmaking capacity, and its accounting practices were already weird, with Pirrie’s “Commission Club”, long before it built its most famous product. It was certainly H&W that brought down Kylsant’s Royal Mail Group.

    Built some good ships, though.

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