Port of Tyne, which recently announced record profits, has acquired 10 acres of land adjoining its Tyne Dock estate in South Shields from the administrators in charge of overseeing McNulty, for an undisclosed sum.
Port bosses said the deal will support their plans for future growth in both existing and new business sectors, including renewable industries such as offshore wind and biomass.
But GMB regional officer Mick Blench wanted the McNulty site sold as a going concern, and fears the deal spells the end of offshore construction at the yard.
He said: “I’m a little disappointed at this news, but there is still a little bit of hope.
“From what I can gather, there are a few ‘ifs’ and ‘maybes’ with this deal.
“We have a few members at the Port of Tyne, but we have a much bigger presence in offshore construction industry.
“Ideally, we would prefer it if the McNulty yard remained part of that industry, and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
McNulty Offshore has been a world leader in its field for a quarter of a century, while the former Readhead’s shipyard site has been the base for ship-related activity for an estimated 200 years.
Andrew Moffat, chief executive of the Port of Tyne, said: “This is a strategically significant site with deep water and, like our existing operations, it is only three miles from the mouth of the river and the North Sea.
“It is a unique opportunity for the port, as the site is directly connected to our existing land at Tyne Dock.
Not quite! Readheads Landing is in the way.