THE Department for Transport has been urged to investigate the Port of Milford Haven’s role in the collapse of boatbuilding company Mustang Marine.
Mustang Marine, which was 50% owned by the Port, went under in March, owing businesses more than £580,000.
Labour's south Pembrokeshire Parliamentary candidate Delyth Evans has written to the UK Government Minister responsible for Trust ports, Stephen Hammond, urging an investigation.
Ms Evans said she believed the Port should honour the Mustang’s debts.
“It is unacceptable for Alec Don [Port Chief Executive] to say he has no moral responsibility to Mustang’s creditors,” she said.
“Mr Don was a director of Mustang Marine. He signed off the company’s accounts. The Port Authority Annual Report described Mustang Marine as a subsidiary company. Businesses owed money by Mustang were given repeated assurances that the Port Authority would honour their bills. If this doesn’t count as a moral obligation, I don’t know what does.
“Mr Don says he can’t pay Mustang’s creditors because of his responsibility to the Port Authority’s wider business. If the local firms owed money by Mustang are not paid, there is a chance some of them will go under as well. As a Trust Port, surely the MHPA has a duty to help these businesses? There is a further question about the payout of £103,000 to Mustang directors when they knew full well the company was in trouble and couldn’t pay its debts. This is why I want the Department of Transport to investigate the matter.”
Mr Don told the Western Telegraph that the Port takes its obligations as a Trust Port very seriously, including fostering economic prosperity and promoting growth and job but “must also maintain its ability to operate the Port safely and effectively to be a catalyst for the enormous amount of inward investment that it can attract.”
Mr Don added: “The Port faces an uncertain future as the international energy markets shift. We need to be ready to deal with that, and be ready and able to invest where necessary to attract future business to the Port. Mustang Marine represented a great opportunity in this way and it is a great regret that the enterprise failed.
"However we must look forward and be ready to focus our efforts in a way that is best for the long term growth of the local economy."