How Korean shipbuilding was based on the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders expertise

(c) Memory Lane

By Anonymous

Anent South Korean shipbuilding: this really only got underway in the 1970s, when the South Korean Government financed the building of an entirely modern yard in what was then a small fishing village called Hyundai. Since they were venturing on something entirely new, with a local workforce that was largely unskilled in modern shipbuilding techniques, they bought such expertise in.

They bought the entire design portfolio of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders, which had had the plug pulled on it by the Heath Government c1973. One of the reasons given, for the UK decision was that the Clyde yards were out of date and nobody wanted the kinds of ships they were designing. Well, someone did – the Government of South Korea.

And since local skills in shipbuilding were scarce, they recruited tradesmen from UCS who had been made redundant – because their skills were “out of date” and their work practices “were lazy.” These tradesmen moved to Hyundai and trained the local workforce.

Apart from the two BAe systems yards, which mainly build warships, there is no shipbuilding on the Upper Clyde. There is still some on the Lower Clyde and BBC Scotland and the Scottish media are doing their worst regarding them.

I found out about the Hyundai story by chance about 10 years ago, when my wife and I spent a week in Paris in a flat just down the street from the Pompidou Centre. When we visited the Centre – just to see the main displays – we came across the Hyundai exhibition in a small suite away from the main displays. It was actually sponsored by the Government of South Korea and was primarily intended to showcase South Korean expertise. The Clyde connection was the first part of a historical view of South Korea’s shipbuilding development. It was really only of interest to two ageing Keelies who had dropped in on spec.


2 thoughts on “How Korean shipbuilding was based on the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders expertise

  1. I remember hearing a story about an old ex Clyde shipbuilder being asked what technology the Koreans had that enabled them to beat the Clyde yards.
    His answer was that it was very basic technology, the Koreans build their ships indoors while the Clydesiders worked outdoors in all weathers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Go and study how Norway
    Completely restructured
    Its shipbuilding industry
    When confronted in the 1970, s just as The UK was
    From far East competition
    Norway is now at the cutting
    Edge of modern ferries, Small to Medium carriers
    And highly niche specialised ship building
    1st in world for battery powered bulk carriers
    Meanwhile UK only builds Warships that always delivered late,way over budget and more less major breakdown soon after commissioning and no foreign buyers
    Spain, Italy, Sweden, Norway and France have a queue of foreign buyers for
    Their warship building
    And as for China who are rapidly becoming the Worlds largest builder of all types of commercial and naval ships
    Enough said and as for the sheer incompetence of Westminster I now rest my case

    Liked by 2 people

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