Britain has pledged to help save the historic Belfast shipyard Harland and Wolff, which built the Titanic, from going the same way as the ill-fated liner. The shipyard, a key pillar of Northern Ireland's economy, warned last week that its 1,745 workers could lose their jobs if it does not land a $600 million contract for Cunard's new Queen Mary cruise liner.
A government official said that the Department of Trade and Industry and Northern Ireland Office had come up with a funding package to help the shipyard, details of which will remain confidential.
"The government has been working closely with the company on this issue," the official said. "We understand the importance of securing this order."
The yard has pinned hopes of survival on winning an order from Cunard - a division of Carnival Corp
. -to build a new super liner, the Queen Mary II, against stiff competition from France's Chantiers de l'Atlantique.