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Wednesday, August 7, 2019 

The Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. Northern Ireland has now entered into administration, having closed on 5 August after a long period of little activity.

It appears that H&W, whose twin cranes have long been a Belfast landmark, and where the Titanic museum  attracts many visitors eager to learn about the ill-fated vessel built at the yard, is not likely to find a buyer and reopen maritime activities. Dolphin Drilling, a subsidiary of the Norwegian Olsen shipping company, which owned H&W since the late 1980s, put the yard up for sale in 2018, but failed to attract investors. As a result, the Belfast High Court has now appointed BDO as administrators.

The move brings to an end a shipbuilding tradition lasting well over 160 years, but H&W did not go down without a fight. The remaining 100-plus employees of the once 15,000-strong workforce are said to have effectively occupied the yard for several days, angry at the failure of local and national politicians to save not only the shipyard, but several other local industrial concerns.

H&W built its last ship in 2003, and since then has survived as best it could by building components for the offshore wind industry, and the odd repair to oil and gas platforms.


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