Shipping out: Former shipbuilder Harland and Wolff put up for sale as parent company restructures

ICONIC Northern Ireland manufacturer Harland and Wolff is up for sale as its Norwegian parent company, Fred Olsen, carries out a major restructuring.

The former shipbuilder behind the Titanic has diversified into renewable energy installations since the last ship sailed out of its famous yard in 2003.

The decline of shipbuilding has also been marked by a steady fall in employee numbers from as many as 30,000 in the early 1900s to around 100 today.

A sale would mark one of the biggest corporate transactions in Northern Ireland in recent years.

Harland and Wolff covers two sites on Queen’s Island in east Belfast, including the Belfast Repair Dock where some ship repair work is still carried out. There is also the main building dock and manufacturing halls where the famous Samson and Goliath gantry cranes operate.

The building dock is the biggest in Europe and day-to-day running of the company is unaffected pending a potential sale.

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