Category: News

Naval Architect of Cunard’s ‘QM2’ Says New UK Flagship Should Be Built in Belfast

The naval architect who designed Cunard’s flagship cruiseship / ocean liner Queen Mary 2, has backed Belfast’s Harland & Wolff shipyard to build a new UK flagship vessel aimed at promoting Britain around the world.

Stephen Payne, a past President of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) – has a proposal for a ship considerably bigger than the former royal yacht Britannia, decommissioned in 1997 after 43 years in service.

“My vision is for a British promotion ship encompassing exhibition, conference, trade, youth, cultural and tourism — which if built in Belfast, would showcase shipbuilding and capabilities in Northern Ireland,” he said.

“Harland and Wolff are very capable of building a prestige ship of this scale. InfraStrata Plc (the yard’s owners) come across as very dynamic.

Plans are reportedly afoot to name a new national yacht, which could cost up to £200 million, after the late Prince Philip.

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€6m project to trial greener, more efficient ship propulsion and steering system underway

A greener, more efficient rudder system, designed at the University of Strathclyde, will be demonstrated as part of a €6 million EU-funded research project.

The GATERS project led by the University of Strathclyde under the Horizon 2020 Fund, will see the ‘gate rudder’ – a novel propulsion and steering system – retro-fitted to a commercial vessel as part of a trial.

Unlike a traditional rudder which sits behind a ship’s propellers to steer the vessel, the U-shaped gate rudder – essentially two separate rudders – sits astride the propeller which, as a result, acts like a nozzle around the propeller and generates additional thrust.
Both rudders can be independently controlled to provide steering better as well as helping vessels move sideways – called crabbing – when docking, for example.

In early trials, the gate rudder has shown ‘remarkable’ fuel-saving potential of 15% in calm waters, while this can be as high as 30% in rough seas and improved maneuverability.

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Dunkirk Little Ships Lost in Catastrophic fire at Otter Marine

One of the Little Ships used in the Dunkirk evacuations during the Second World War has been lost in a huge fire on an island in the River Thames.

The Lady Gay was built for Lord Alfred Dunhill, the tobacco company owner, in 1934 and took part in the historic 1940 evacuation.

Crews were called to Platt’s Eyot in Hampton, Richmond upon Thames, at around 5.15pm on Monday after reports of two industrial units on fire.

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Rolls-Royce partners with Hindustan Aeronautics for warship engines

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Rolls-Royce signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) this week to establish a support system in India for the highly regarded Rolls-Royce MT30 marine engines.

The HAL-Rolls-Royce partnership will provide packaging, installation, marketing and services support for the MT30 engine, creating a business case for the Indian Navy to consider using the engine for powering and propelling its warships.

The Indian Navy, one of the world’s major warship builders, has not used the MT30 for even a single warship. Most Indian frigates and destroyers are propelled by Ukrainian Zorya turbines or by American General Electric LM-2500 gas turbines.

The UK Government Department for International Trade (DIT) has been actively lobbying New Delhi to power the Indian Navy’s second indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-2), INS Vishal, with the MT30 engine.

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Spirit Energy and Neptune partner to develop UK offshore gas discovery

Spirit Energy has agreed to partner with Neptune Energy to develop the Pegasus West gas discovery in the UK southern North Sea.

Neptune Energy has acquired Spirit Energy’s 38.75% equity interest in the Pegasus West discovery and surrounding acreage including P1724, P1727, P4257 and P2128.

Spirit Energy holds the remaining 61.25% stake and serves as operator.

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Queen’s Award for International Trade for The Wight Shipyard Company

The Wight Shipyard Co , the UK’s leading specialist manufacturer of aluminium marine craft, based in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight, has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for International Trade in recognition of its work to increase British exports.

A home-grown British marine manufacturing success story, the Wight Shipyard Company builds high-speed passenger ferries, tourist vessels and commercial workboats for the windfarm support vessel market, both domestically and internationally. The company was formed by leading entrepreneur Sir Charles Dunstone and business partner Peter Morton in 2016 with a bold vision to restore the UK’s shipbuilding business.

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People smuggling gangs target UK maritime industry

Callous people smuggling gangs are targeting the UK maritime industry as demand for small boats soars.

Criminals sent more than 8,000 asylum seekers on perilous trips across the Channel in flimsy dinghies last year, a combination of lockdown measures and calm weather fuelling the rise.

By the end of last month the number was more than double that recorded in the same period last year and the National Crime Agency fears the summer months will be accompanied by another increase.

Now the National Crime Agency (NCA) is warning sailing suppliers of thefts and urging them to keep watch for unusual consumer behaviour, including bulk buying and repeat custom.

Organised crime groups are known to target legitimate sellers of vessels and equipment such as outboard motors and life jackets, both in person and online.

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Taylor Maritime Investments prepares to float $250m shipping trust

Taylor Maritime Investments has announced plans to float on the London Stock Exchange in an initial public offering (IPO) looking to raise $250m.

The target issue is made up of 250 million new ordinary shares at an initial issue price of $1 per share.

The new trust, which was incorporated in Guernsey on 31 March, will invest in a diversified portfolio of vessels, primarily second-hand geared ships.

According to the firm, “these vessels have historically demonstrated average yields in excess of 7% per annum and are capable of being acquired at valuations that are expected to be below long-term average prices”.

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Tyneside shipbuilder says hundreds of jobs at risk if housing scheme goes ahead

A&P Group Limited Tyne has promised to fight a proposed housing development next to its factory in Hebburn, after claiming the plans could put hundreds of jobs at risk.

A&P said that the jobs of the 200 locals it employs could be jeopardised by the housing plans.

The company has taken issue with plans for the Kelly’s Yard development which, if approved, would see 448 houses built at the former Hawthorn Leslie Shipyard.

Kelly’s Yard – named after the HMS Kelly, Lord Louis Mountbatten’s K-Class Destroyer in WWII – would also include a café, restaurant, bike repair shop and a museum honouring the site’s history.

But A&P Tyne argues that developing the land into housing would severely restrict its business operations and hamper future expansion plans.

David Mc Ginley, group chief executive officer, said: “As one the region’s largest employers, A&P Tyne delivers significant economic benefits to the North East economy. However, our ability to drive economic value to the region is dependent on our ability to deliver our projects.

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UK Government urged to accelerate ocean protection in COP26 plans

Major UK nature charities including WWF-UK and RSPB have unveiled plans to assess the UK government‘s measures to conserve and restore marine habitats this year, urging Ministers to take action ahead of COP26 this November.

The charities collaboratively developed the so-called ‘Marine Scorecard’ after Ministers declared 2021 to be the “marine super year” in January. This declaration was aligned with the UN dubbing the 2020s the ‘Ocean Decade’ and ‘Decade of Ecosystem Restoration’. With the UK having failed to deliver on previous ocean conservation and restoration promises, the scorecard will be completed later this year to give an updated snapshot of progress – or lack thereof.

While protected status has been broadened for marine habitats, NGOs believe that less than 1% of marine areas are properly protected. Previous WWF research has revealed that fully protecting one-third of UK seas could catalyse a £50bn boost for the economy and unlock 100,000 jobs.

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