NEWCASTLE could be without a floating dock for the first time in decades with new Forgacs CEO Lindsay Stratton negotiating the sale of the Carrington-based facility.
Long considered one of the key pieces of infrastructure in the Newcastle port, the Forgacs floating dock was renowned for being ideal for conversions, refits, unscheduled repairs and maintenance.
It is also one of the most recognisable landmarks in the Newcastle Harbour, but with no maintenance work for more than two years the company has been looking to sell.
The Newcastle Herald understands the floating dock will be taken to Singapore in December to be refurbished in preparation for a South African buyer.
The floating dock, which was first owned by the State Dockyard, then Newcastle Port Corporation. before it was leased and later purchased by Forgacs, has created hundreds of jobs and pumped millions of dollars into the Newcastle economy.
But Mr Stratton said the recent lack of work had prompted Forgacs to look at offloading the floating dock.
‘‘Due to a lack of demand for dry docking ships, the dock has remained closed since late 2010,’’ he said.
‘‘Over this period Forgacs has explored its options for the future.
‘‘Forgacs is now in discussion with a potential buyer.
‘‘There will be no direct job losses in the event of a sale.’’
Forgacs has been contracted to complete maintenance work for the Royal Australian Navy and NSW state government among others since it purchased the dock in 1987.
Forgacs currently employs more than 900 people at sites in Carrington, Tomago, Sydney, Brisbane and Gladstone and is currently building modules for the Navy’s air warfare destroyers.
The founder and managing director of the shipbuilding company, Stephen Forgacs senior, died in July after a short battle with cancer.
The Herald first reported on the issue in December 2010 when Forgacs moved 50 full-time staff from ship maintenance on the floating dock site to ship building projects because of a shortage of work.
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union organiser Daniel Wallace was not available for comment last night.