A "number of interested parties and potential bidders" have made approaches to the administrators dealing with the stricken shipyard Harland and Wolff, it has been confirmed.
But shipyard workers are to be temporarily laid off, by the administrators, until Friday, August 16th, because there is no money to cover the current costs of running the business.
The joint administrators of the historic Belfast shipyard that built the Titanic said they are now are in the process of following up these approaches in a bid to find a “viable commercial solution” for Harland and Wolff.
Michael Jennings and Brian Murphy from BDO Northern Ireland were formally appointed joint administrators to the shipyard, which was founded in 1861, on Tuesday.
Following their appointment the administrators said the yard had been seeking a buyer for some time but had not been to able to secure one before it ran out of “funds” following the recent insolvency of its Norwegian parent company.
Trade unions in the North have been working closely with the joint administrators since their appointment and shipyard workers are continuing a round the clock protest outside the gates of Harland and Wolff in Queen’s Island.
On Friday the joint administrators said that because there was no money available to cover the current costs of running the business they, in conjunction with the unions, had “agreed to facilitate an unpaid temporary lay-off until Friday 16th August”.
In a statement Mr Jennings and Mr Murphy said: “This provides a limited additional time for all parties to pursue any potential opportunity to find a commercial basis to continue the business as a going concern.
“For a small number of workers, the option of redundancy has been provided and taken up. A limited core team of workers has also been retained to maintain the site and facilitate the administrators in carrying out their duties.”
The administrators said they are working closely with all interested parties to secure a “positive outcome” for Harland and Wolff.