Cammell Laird to build first new Mersey ferry in 60 years

Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders Limited will construct the first new Mersey ferry in 60 years in a move which marks a major milestone for the shipbuilder.

The Birkenhead facility – which is part of the APCL Group – has put pen to paper with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority on a deal which will see the new vessel designed and built exclusively on-site.

The state-of-the-art vessel will be designed to harness green technology, with a cutting edge Azi-pull propeller system for reduced fuel usage, along with a diesel-electric hybrid-ready propulsion system – with potential for future conversion to full electric propulsion as technology evolves.

The ferry will also have an exhaust after treatment system which will operate in excess of current UK & international standards to reduce harmful nitrous oxide emissions.

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Shipbuilders told to come clean about UK workforce for £1.6bn supply vessels

Firms developing three Fleet Solid Support ships for Royal Fleet Auxiliary have been urged to say how many British jobs will be created – and how much work carried out in the UK

The Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions has demanded to see plans outlining how UK workers and firms will benefit from the deal. The CSEU’s maritime chairman Matthew Roberts, a GMB union national officer, has written to Harland & Wolff, ship designers BMT and Madrid-based Navantia, S.A., S.M.E calling for answers.

He has asked for copies of the “UK Content Plan for Fleet Solid Support” and “your Social Value and Training Plan”.

In the letter, seen exclusively by the Mirror, he says: “As you will appreciate, our members have been told that these documents set out the Team Resolute commitments to investment in the UK workforce and domestic supply chains, and – on that basis – sight of the plans is essential if confidence is to be built in the project across the wider workforce.

“We believe it is crucial that these plans are visible, understood and trusted by all stakeholders, including the workforce we represent. Engagement with the workforce and representatives will be vital to delivering a successful programme.”

The trio of 709ft, 40,000-tonne Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels will resupply Royal Navy aircraft carriers, frigates and destroyers with food, ammunition and explosives. When it announced the contract in November 2022, the Government claimed 1,200 jobs will be created in the UK. But at least 40% of the value of the work – worth about £640million – will go overseas, with some of the building taking place in Cadiz.

Hundreds of jobs in Spain are expected to be created or safeguarded – posts which unions believe could have come to Britain if a rival bid from Team UK, including BAE Systems and Babcock International Group, had won.

Mr Roberts told the Mirror: “Team Resolute must now publish their UK Content Plan and Social Value and Training Plan so they can be held to account on them. Firstly, UK workers need to see that the level of UK work on FSS is significant, as we have always been promised it would be when we learnt the work would not exclusively be within the UK. Secondly, we need to ensure there is no backsliding of work from the UK to foreign yards; work that is allocated and promised to UK yards such as Belfast and Appledore must be completed in these yards.

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Dutch government vows to resurrect local shipbuilding scene

The Dutch government has announced it will spend EUR60m ($63.6m) over the next two years to boost the nation’s shipbuilding industry as well as creating a National Maritime Manufacturing Industry Management Agency.

Around 45% of Dutch ships were built on home soil in the 1980s, a figure that has slipped to just 4% today, new government data shows with Asian yards able to churn out ships at prices that are up to 40% cheaper.

“The Netherlands has insufficient competitive construction capacity for naval ships and specialised work vessels,” a recent government study concluded.

“Our maritime manufacturing industry is wrongly regarded as a quiet asset,” said Marja van Bijsterveldt, who is spearheading the government’s focus on the shipbuilding industry. “Together with other countries in Europe, we have lost a large part of our global market share for commercial seagoing vessels to Asia in just a few decades. The Netherlands depends on ships for our safety, dry feet, energy transition, and prosperity. We can no longer afford the laissez-faire policies of recent decades.”

Dutch yards can take part in the coming green transition of the world fleet, the government has argued, citing data from UNCTAD which shows the global merchant fleet is now 22.2 years old, suggesting a significant replacement cycle will be needed by the end of the 2020s.

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Cammell Laird and A&P create global entity to further the group’s ambition of becoming a tier one contractor

Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders Limited is joining forces with another shipyard owner A&P Group Limited to create a maritime powerhouse with a combined turnover of £188m.

With its shipyard based in Birkenhead, Cammell Laird’s most recent financial results showed annual revenues of £94m. A&P operates two shipyards in the North East of England and one in Falmouth in the South West. Its current turnover is also £94m.

Now both businesses will come under the umbrella of a new entity, APCL Group. The group will also include project management specialist A&P Australia and UK based Neway Industrial Services.

Cammell Laird and A&P already have a close working relationship and David Mc Ginley is chief executive of both companies. He will be CEO of the new entity.

This deal will not see a change of ownership of either business which will retain their individual identities. The ultimate parent company of Cammell Laird is Isle of Man-based Tokenhouse which is the parent company of ports and property giant The Peel Group.

This latest move means APCL will “stand before the market” as a much larger company. It will develop an “all of one” company approach to certain major contracts and will further the group’s ambition of becoming a tier one contractor.

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Work starts on construction of huge new frigate in Scotland

The Defence Procurement Minister Alex Chalk presided over the ceremony marking the start of construction on the future HMS Birmingham at BAE Systems’ Govan shipyard in Glasgow.

The event signified the beginning of work on the fourth of eight Type 26 frigates, with apprentice burner Ciaran Baillie and fabricator-plater Jamie Finnegan performing the steel cut.

The work, say BAE, is sustaining approximately 1,700 jobs in Scotland and 4,000 across the UK maritime supply chain. The company plans to hire an additional 400 tradespeople and 200 apprentices for the programme in 2023.

The first three Type 26 ships are in various stages of construction, with HMS Glasgow at BAE Systems’ Scotstoun shipyard for systems installation, HMS Cardiff being assembled, and HMS Belfast in early construction. The £4.2bn contract for the remaining five ships, including HMS Birmingham, demonstrates the UK Ministry of Defence confidence in the programme.

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Harland & Wolff submits planning application on recapitalisation plan

Harland & Wolff Group Holdings PLC has said that it has submitted a planning application to extend its fabrication halls in Belfast, as part of a recapitalisation plan for the Fleet Solid Support programme.

The Fleet Solid Support programme refers to a £1.6 billion contract awarded at the end of last year to Team Resolute.

The company has told investors that its planning application was part of the recapitalisation plan for the FSS programme.

The application is for a 4,997 square metre extension to the existing fabrication halls, facilitating the automated fabrication of panels of up to 16 square metres that will be used for the programme, in addition to later projects.

Harland & Wolff currently operates from fabrication halls in Belfast, and it is these halls that will incorporate the majority of the its upgrades. It said that as part of this plan, demolition works on certain existing structures in the yard will be undertaken before the end of the month to facilitate the construction of the new facilities.

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Harland & Wolff Cuts Jobs at Methil after Offshore Wind Contract Termination

Harland & Wolff has said that it would “rationalize” the number of people working at its Methil facility in Scotland.

This was in response to the contract termination settlement with Saipem over the building of jackets for the Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm project in the outer Firth of Forth in Scotland.

Harland & Wolff had, in April 2021, won a contract with Saipem to build and load out eight offshore wind turbine generator (WTG) jacket foundations at it’s Methil facility.

However, Harland & Wolff said in September 2022 that the project – which had a 12-month completion period – had encountered delays due to a number of client materials arriving late and being defective in nature, rendering them incapable of being used.

In a statement issued on February 17, 2023, Harland & Wolff said it had successfully completed the negotiations with Saipem, with the contract value finalized at £16m, “representing approximately 70% of the contract value as per the deed of variation signed in September 2022 as part of descoping from eight jackets to four.”

“The entire amount has now been paid in full and final settlement of the contract [has been reached],” H&W said.

Following the completion of the settlement with Saipem, H&W said that it would “undertake a process of rationalizing the Methil facility’s workforce to approximately 115 core personnel.” It did not say how many people would be laid off. Back when the Saipem contract was first signed, Saipem said the deal would “create around 290 direct and indirect Scottish jobs.”

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Britain’s biggest luxury yacht-builder sold to new private equity backers 15 years after it last changed hands.

Plymouth-based Princess Yachts, Britain’s largest luxury boatbuilder, has been sold to a US-based private equity firm.

Princess Yachts was put up for sale in 2022 by the private equity group L Catterton, as a string of the world’s most valuable private vessels were being seized by governments clamping down on their sanctioned Russian owners.

Princess Yachts has now confirmed that KPS Capital Partners has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a controlling equity interest in the business.

It is said to have a robust order book and roughly £300m in annual revenue.

Princess’s boats have become symbols of luxury among the world’s super-rich, although during the pandemic, it negotiated a cash injection from its controlling shareholder, as well as a refinancing of its debt.

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UK Law Firm Tapped to Probe Alleged Irregularities in Scottish Ferry Procurement

The Scottish Government-owned ferry company Caledonian Maritime Assets (CMAL) has requested a legal firm to appoint a King’s Counsel (KC) who will conduct an independent investigation into supposed irregularities related to the procurement of new passenger vessels.

London-based Addleshaw Goddard, CMAL’s legal firm, has been tasked with appointing a KC, though CMAL itself claimed it is unable to comment further while the investigation is ongoing and the Scottish government said it has no involvement in the appointment.

CMAL assured that an audit conducted in 2018 revealed “no adverse issues” with the ferries’ procurement. However, the two vessels slated for local operator Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) have been under continuous scrutiny for being delayed for more than five years as well as being £150 million (US$182 million) over budget.

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Glasgow ‘Frigate Factory’ planning permission granted

Planning permission has been granted for a huge new shipbuilding hall at the BAE Systems site in Govan, with work on the first ship to be built in the facility starting in 2024.

The wet basin at Govan will now be drained and a covered build hall will be constructed on the site, allowing for later Type 26 frigates to be built indoors.

It is hoped that Type 26 ships 4 to 8 will be built in this facility.

According to the consultation:

“As such, BAE Systems intends to develop a new ship building hall which is capable of meeting the United Kingdom’s ship building requirements. This necessitates the construction of a new ship building facility in Govan, one that will allow for at least two ships to be built simultaneously under cover and in single hull format.

“The opportunity to provide a new modern ship building hall of this nature would allow BAE Systems to adopt improved shipbuilding techniques together with improved construction access and state of the art, dedicated, on-site office and amenities accommodation.”

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