Administrators are appointed to take over Ferguson Shipyard in Port Glasgow.
The property is expected to be transferred to the Scottish Government, which said it was "ready and willing" to make a deal to prevent the yard from closing.
Ferguson is involved in a longstanding dispute with the Scottish Government over the construction of two CalMac ferries.
About 300 people work at Inverclyde Shipyard.
Legal negotiations mean the shipyard will no longer be owned by industrialist Jim McCauley, who could not persuade ministers to pay more than the £ 97 million contract price for the ferry in dispute.
The GMB Union issued a qualified welcome, saying nationalization would provide the shipyard with an immediate future.
GMB Scotland organizer Gary Cook said: "Nationalization provides an immediate future for the yard and this is a very welcome development, especially after all the recent uncertainty.
"Our members were in the middle of a situation that had nothing to do with them and their relief would be palpable. Five years have passed since the court collapsed and the Scottish Government prevented it from happening again. "
He said nationalization would not be a quick solution to the court.
"For example, there will be restrictions on the amount of private-sector work that the yard can compete with – but the alternative to nationalization was closure, which was not a choice at all," he added.
"Our immediate priority is to secure the re-employment of last weekend's workers because their skills are essential and then we will urge the government to work with us to develop an appropriate industrial yard plan because lessons must be learned."