Northern Irish engineering company announces pipeline of multi-million pound global contracts

Northern Irish engineering company DECOM Engineering has announced that it has secured a pipeline of multi-million pound global contracts.

The announcement comes after the business raised follow-on investment from Co Fund NI and HBAN (Halo Business Angel Network), which will fund operations over the course of the next 14 months, including projects in Thailand, Malaysia and Canada.

The company, which recently opened a base in Aberdeen, has developed world first technologies in pipe cutting and coating removal which provide greener, faster and safer solutions for decommissioning in the energy sector.

Decom Engineering has previously secured £2m of investment from Co Fund NI, HBAN and private investors. By investing over £700,000 in R&D, and with R&D support from Invest Northern Ireland, it has developed innovative new technologies and products to replace the traditional pipe cutting and coating removals processes, saving time and reducing waste and CO2 emissions during the decommissioning of old oil and gas plants and pipelines.

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Maritime rope could be adding billions of microplastics to the ocean every year

The hauling of rope on maritime vessels could result in billions of microplastic fragments entering the ocean every year, according to new research.

The study, by the University of Plymouth‘s International Marine Litter Research Unit, is the first to explore the potential for rope to become a source of microplastic pollution in the marine environment.

It compared a variety of synthetic ropes commonly used in the maritime industry—but differing in age, wear surface and material—to assess the quantity and characterizes of microplastics produced while they were in use.

This was achieved by simulating, in both laboratory and field experiments, the rope hauling activity which is typically performed on board maritime vessels such as fishing boats.

The results show that new and one-year old ropes can release around 20 microplastic fragments into the ocean for every meter hauled.

However, as the rope gets older it can release significantly more fragments—two-year-old ropes shed on average around 720 fragments per meter, while 10-year-old rope releases more than 760 fragments per meter.

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DP World to invest £300 m in new fourth berth at London Gateway

DP World has announced that it will begin work next month on a new fourth berth at its London Gateway logistics hub to increase supply chain resilience and create more capacity for the world’s largest vessels.

The £300m sum – which builds on the £2bn investment DP World has made in Britain over the last decade – represents the next step by the leading global provider of smart logistics in delivering integrated supply chain solutions for customers.

In the first six months of 2021 London Gateway saw record throughput of 888,000 TEU, a more than 23 per cent increase on the previous best performance for the first half of a year. The new fourth berth will raise capacity by a third and completion will coincide with the delivery of a new wave of 24,000 TEU vessels in 2023/2024, which will all be operated between Asia and Europe. 

Along with the Port of Tilbury London Ltd Forth Ports Limited and Ford UK’s Dagenham plant, DP World London Gateway will form Thames Freeport after being awarded freeport status by the Government earlier this year.

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UK, US and Australia launch defence and security partnership

The UK, the US and Australia have formed a defence and security partnership to further improve joint development capabilities and technology sharing.

Known as ‘AUKUS’, the collaboration will encourage deeper security and defence-related science, technology, industrial bases and supply chains integration.

The new security pact looks like being good news for British defence contractors.

Boris Johnson mentioned, early in his statement, the benefits for the UK economy.

Mr Johnson said the pact would create “hundreds of highly skilled jobs across the United Kingdom – including in Scotland, the North of England and the Midlands – taking forward this government’s driving purpose of levelling up across the whole country.”

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Design work begins on successor to Astute-class submarines in £170m deal

The first work has begun on a successor to the Submarine Service’s cutting-edge hunter-killer force – even before all the current boats have been delivered to the Royal Navy.

BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce have each been given £85m to start thinking about the design and capabilities of a new class of submarine which will eventually take over from the Astute class.

Over the next three years 350 designers, engineers and shipwrights – 250 in the North-West and 100 in the Midlands – will carry out design and concept work, work which will help Whitehall determine how it replaces the Astutes when they begin to reach the end of their active careers.

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Plymouth to host UK’s first charging network for electric maritime vessels

Plymouth is set to become the first city in the UK to install a network of shore-side charging facilities for its expanding fleet of electric maritime vessels.

Over the past year, the city has become home to the UK’s first marine electric passenger ferry and an electric water taxi that will operate 364 days a year.

However, access to infrastructure is currently a barrier to ensuring further growth in this emerging sector can happen in a coordinated and sustainable way.

With that in mind, a consortium of city partners is joining forces to create Plymouth’s Marine e-Charging Living Lab (MeLL), which will provide the pivotal infrastructure required to accelerate innovation and growth.

The project has received more than £570,000 funding as part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, funded by the Department for Transport (DfT), United Kingdom and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.

It will develop a network of charging facilities around Plymouth Sound, offering multiple, flexible sites and responding to the Maritime 2050 route map for maritime net zero.

The project is being led by the University of Plymouth in partnership with Plymouth City Council, Princess Yachts and Aqua superPower Limited

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Defence Secretary announces launch of National Shipbuilding Office

A new National Shipbuilding Office has been created to galvanise and promote the UK’s shipbuilding enterprise.

Marking the start of London International Shipping Week 2021 , the founding of the new National Shipbuilding Office is a significant milestone in the UK’s shipbuilding renaissance.

The Office will be responsible for driving forward one of the Prime Minister’s key domestic priorities across government, working in close collaboration with the sector industrial partners and supply chain.

Rear Admiral Rex Cox has been appointed as the Chief Executive of the new organisation. With over 30 years-experience in the Royal Navy, Rear Admiral Cox worked as the Defence policy advisor for Her Majesty’s Treasury from 2015 to 2018 and most recently served as the Head of Capability Planning in the Finance and Military Capability directorate of the UK Ministry of Defence

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CMAL announce 10-year investment plan

The Port Glasgow-based national ferries and harbours body is setting sail on a long overdue £500m mission to renew the country’s ageing fleet in the wake of a stunning transformation of its HQ.

Caledonian Maritime Assets (CMAL) will be replacing 21 vessels — including the lightweight Gourock-Dunoon boats which have suffered thousands of cancelled sailings — as part of an ‘exciting’ 10-year plan of investment.

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North Star Renewables secures £96m to build vessel fleet outside of UK

North Star Renewables (NSR), of Aberdeen, has announced a £96 m funding package to support its vessel-building plans.

The company – part of the North Star Shipping (NSS) group of companies – told The Press and Journal the secured loan from multinational financial services giant Allianz Global Investors (AllianzGI) supplemented its own balance sheet, as well as equity commitments from NSS’s 100% shareholder, Basalt Infrastructure Partners.

It will fund the build of three new service operations vessels (SOVs), which will be delivered to the Dogger Bank offshore wind farm under a contract of at least 10 years.

Once completed, Dogger Bank – about 80 miles off the Yorkshire coast – will become the world’s largest offshore wind farm, capable of powering an estimated six million UK homes. It is currently under construction by joint-venture partners Equinor, SSE Renewables, and Eni.

NSR’s contract with Dogger Bank is expected to create 130 long-term jobs in Scotland and the north-east of England during the operations phase of the wind farm.

The first of North Star’s SOVs are scheduled to arrive at Port of Tyne in Summer 2023.

NSR’s three Dogger-Bank-bound SOVs are being built by Norwegian company VARD under a £270m deal.

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Tidal turbine re-installation demonstrates world leading supply chain capabilities for marine energy

Spanish tidal energy developer Magallanes Renovables has returned to the EMEC: European Marine Energy Centre tidal test site in Orkney for the re-installation of its turbine following upgrades.

Magallanes’ second-generation 2MW tidal platform, ATIR, was reinstalled last week following removal for maintenance and optimisation. The Magallanes team worked in collaboration with Orkney-based marine service provider Leask Marine Ltd, along with the Orkney Harbour Authority tug Thor, to install the platform in an operation lasting eight hours.

In order to optimise the performance the platform was transported to the dry dock of Dales Marine Services Ltd for maintenance, supported by GAP, Leask Marine Ltd, Briggs Marine & Forth Ports Limited.

The maintenance involved having to position the platform horizontally in the sea by using a system of buoys to fit into the dry dock via the locks. During this positioning operation in Leith, maintenance tasks were carried out to optimise the platform, including anti-fouling & performance verification, to allow the platform to operate more efficiently.

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