Shipyard scandal: €23 million in unused equipment to be sold for scrap

It’s a new twist in the Viana do Castelo shipyard controversy, and comes the day after hundreds of banner-waving workers marched on the official residence of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho at São Bento in Lisbon.

Correio da Manhã newspaper has revealed that €23.3 million worth of equipment, purchased in 2006-2007 and never used, has been languishing for years in warehouses at the trouble-torn ENVC ship-building yard. It is now destined for scrap, says the newspaper.

The equipment was bought for two vessels designed to combat pollution and the ‘Anticiclone’ – one of two ferries commissioned by the government of the Azores and then spectacularly refused in the early stages of its construction in 2009 on the grounds that it might have had stability issues.

Just in the case of the Anticiclone, the equipment cost the then Socialist government €8.6 million, writes Correio da Manhã.

Items include propulsion engines, electric engines, propellers, electrical systems and communication networks.

The newspaper adds that the previous administration had already spent €14.7 million on the two anti-pollution boats.

Meantime, yesterday’s (December 19) protest played out against a backdrop in which both the Attorney General and DCIAP (central criminal investigation department) are currently studying the whole ENVC imbroglio and trying to ascertain whether any crime has been involved. Workers and unions would suggest that there has.

The coalition government, on the other hand, maintains the shipyard makes no economic sense and should be ‘sold off’ – at the risk of more than 600 jobs – to the industrial multinational group Martifer.