More than 1,700 jobs are at risk at the Belfast birthplace of the Titanic after Cunard Line decided to build the Queen Mary II cruise liner at a French shipyard.
Cunard, a unit of Carnival Corp., signed a letter of intent to build the Queen Mary II at the Alstom subsidiary Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. The super liner is expected to be launched in 2003.
The other shipyard in the running, Harland and Wolff, is a key pillar of Northern Ireland's economy, and previously warned that its 1,745 workers could lose their jobs if the yard did not land the $600 million contract. The 140-year-old shipyard, now majority-owned by Norway's Fred Olsen Energy, has just two ship orders left
on its books and had pinned hopes of survival on winning the Cunard order.