UK Seafood Fund is extended until 2025 as 17 projects awarded funds from major £100m investment to research sustainable fisheries practices

The Fisheries Industry Science Partnerships (FISP) scheme – which is part of the £100m UK Seafood Fund – brings together industry and researchers to deliver pioneering projects which promote the sustainable management of the UK’s fisheries and help equip the fishing industry for the future.

So far over £4 million has been made available by the UK government to fund projects under the scheme. From this week, a new funding round for the FISP is opening, with increased awards of up to £1 million for two-year projects and new eligible funding areas, allowing for a wider variety of more ambitious projects to receive support. The UK Seafood Fund will also be extended from 2024 until 31 March 2025 to help longer-term projects to succeed by giving them more time to use the investment.

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UK rules out ‘international competition’ for support ships

The UK Ministry of Defence has once again confirmed that the Fleet Solid Support ships will, for the most part, be British built.

Jeremy Quin, Minister for Defence Procurement, said:
“For the purposes of procurement the Fleet Solid Support ships are considered to be warships. This has significance in the procurement route we choose to adopt, and we are not pursuing an international competition. This does not preclude international bidders from participating if they can meet the UK’s national security requirements, for example through a close partnership with UK companies.”

The Ministry of Defence also said previously:
“A competition to build three Fleet Solid Support warships – which will launch in Spring 2021 – will help revitalise British shipbuilding by requiring a significant proportion of the build and assembly work to be carried out in the UK. International companies will be invited to work in collaboration with UK firms to feed in their skills and expertise, but the successful manufacturing team must be led by a British company. This will have a huge impact on the local economies across the UK where shipbuilding is a prominent feature.”

So, what does this mean? Well, it seems foreign companies are expected to be involved in the project, perhaps with some small level of building work done overseas, and their modules will be shipped to the UK to be integrated with the ships.

The Ministry of Defence last year issued a ‘Request for Information’ to industry looking for British shipyards to participate in the Fleet Solid Support Ship programme. 

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Catalyst to Establishing Green Corridors – As Port Announces intent to become world’s first high volume route

Earlier this year National Maritime shared our plans with the Port of Dover to deliver a Blue Space Advanced Port, Energy & Logistics Centres (APELC) to support its ambition to become the world’s first high volume ‘Green Shipping Corridor’ and help deliver on the UK government’s ambition for clean maritime growth as part of the Department for Transport (DfT), United Kingdom (DfT), flagship Maritime 2050 strategy, the Clean Maritime Plan and the Clydebank Declaration announced in Glasgow at COP26.

So, it great to hear the Port announce its intent to become the world’s first high volume ‘Green Shipping Corridor’.

Yes, this will be a significant challenge but one that can be achieved and indeed, the answer may not be electric, but it will be green, and it will require the involvement of UK maritime industries and supply chains, as well sister Ports across the channel, local authorities, and leading academics to progress to make this ambition a reality.

National Maritime  APELC will work with marine, energy, and logistics industries from around the globe to create opportunities for research, innovation and production, and to facilitate the development of energy infrastructure from across multiple energy carriers within ports.

Recognised as leading innovative marine, energy, and logistics communities, APELC will provide access to a unique complex of industrial buildings, office suites and docks, and direct deep-water.

Each centre represents a unique opportunity to help deliver transformative benefits at scale across trade, investment and innovation, which could create new jobs and support the UK’s transition to net zero . They will also support ports objectives of improving energy infrastructure and choices to make energy systems more resilient to stabilise operating costs, all whilst meeting regulatory and community needs.

Furthermore, APELC will act as catalysts to help establish green corridors, specific trade routes between major ports hubs to demonstrate and support zero-emission solutions to achieve full decarbonisation of the shipping sector by 2050.

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Ports ‘White Elephant’ as Government does Brexit border U-turn

The UK government has delayed introducing more checks on EU goods entering the UK over fears it will disrupt supply chains and add to rising inflation. New import controls on EU food products had been due to begin in July.

But the government said “it would be wrong to impose new administrative burdens and risk disruption at ports” at a time of higher costs amid the war in Ukraine and rising energy prices.

It is the fourth time it has delayed EU import checks since the UK left the EU.

Commenting the British Ports Association said:

“This is quite an amazing development to say the least! Many UK port operators have built Border Control Posts in preparation for post Brexit checks and all were due to be ready. This announcement is a major policy change, meaning the facilities will effectively become white elephants, wasting millions of pounds of public and private funding, not to mention the huge effort there has been to get things ready in time”.

Whilst other business groups welcomed the move.

“We are dealing with significant supply chain stress and inflationary costs this year and this would have made a bad situation much worse,” said the Cold Chain Federation.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said: “Imposition of full import controls this summer would have meant yet another burden for small firms which are already wrestling with new trade rules and spiralling operating costs”.

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Turning the tide – Demonstrating the flexibility and capabilities of the UK supply chain

Orbital Marine Power Ltd are currently building the world’s most powerful tidal turbine and it is with no sense of concession they have engaged a supply chain here in the UK that is delivering over 75% (by value) of the turbine.

Steel from Motherwell, layering composites for rotors in Gosport, casting iron in Scunthorpe, fabricating in Llangefni, machining hydraulic cylinders in Sheffield, assembling mechanical systems in Workington, welding in Fife, wiring electrical connectors in Southampton, installing offshore infrastructure in Orkney, assembling the most impressive tidal turbine the world has ever seen in Dundee.

By building in the UK, they have enabled UK suppliers to commit their fantastic capabilities to deliver their vision and uphold their standards and principles.

Well done to Andrew Scott and the team at Orbital for believing in the flexibility and capabilities of the UK supply chain, rather than assume the default position of always tendering the use of foreign yards.

Thanks also for recognising the key role maritime SMES play in driving the success of projects, such as yours.

Worth noting UK governmentUK Ministry of DefenceScottish National Party (SNP) that its possible! A poignant reminder as we seek to deliver the aims of the refreshed National Shipbuilding Strategy.

To any Maritime SME out there who wants to signify to buyers, consumers, and specifiers, that their business associates with the globally well-regarded UK brand of maritime excellence, you can register for free as a National Maritime ‘ Hybrid Blue Prime’ partner and we will send you the full suite of UK quality marks to get you started.

Thanks again Orbital for making the case for UK business.

Sourced, Serviced, Produced in the United Kingdom

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Two CalMac ferries to be built in Turkey

You couldn’t make it up – This week a Refreshed NSbS to reinvigorate UK Shipbuilding, Maritime Awards in Glasgow herald journey to becoming world’s most competitive maritime nation by 2050, English Regional Authority mutes hulls to be built in foreign yards & failure of Scottish Government run-yard to compete for Scottish ferry building contracts

We’ve got some hard miles ahead us at the National Maritime UK Shipbuilders & Shiprepairers – National Shipbuilding Strategy Progress Board to help ensure ships are built in the UK to secure local jobs.

As The Scottish Government-controlled Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) announce a Turkish shipyard has won a £105 million contract to build two new lifeline CalMac Ferries Limited ferries for Islay.

Cemre Marin Endustri has been announced as the preferred bidder for the order against three other yards which will increase vehicle and freight capacity by nearly 40 per cent.

The move was described as an “embarrassment” for the Scottish National Party (SNP) by the Scottish Conservatives.

The first vessel is expected to be delivered by October 2024 and will enter service following sea trials and crew familiarisation. The second vessel will follow in early 2025.

Scottish Government-controlled Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), which owns the nation’s ageing ferry fleet, had invited four overseas companies to bid for the contract to build the two vessels – and excluded Inverclyde shipbuilder Ferguson Marine (Port Glasgow) Limited.

Transport Scotland said that the intention was to award the Islay ferries’ contract to the Cemre Marin Endustri shipyard after a 10 day standstill period.

The successful initial bids were from Damen Shipyard in Romania, Remontowa Shiprepair & Remontowa Shipbuilding Yard in Poland, and Turkish shipyards Sefine Shipyard – Turkiye Denizcilik Tersanecilik Turizm, and Cemre Marin Endustri.

It was confirmed Ferguson Marine embarked in a bid for the contract through the initial Pre-Qualification Questionnaire process but failed to make the shortlist.

The Alba Party is amongst those who have complained that there will be no possibility of there being any community benefits for Inverclyde the Islay contract.

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UK Shipbuilders & Shiprepairers to Support & Monitor Progress of the National Shipbuilding Refresh to Ensure Promises are Upheld

With the launch of the UK’s National Shipbuilding Strategy refresh now imminent, leading shipbuilding and ship repair partners of the UK’s largest maritime network, National Maritime have formed the UK Shipbuilders & Shiprepairers – National Shipbuilding Strategy Progress Board.

As a leading voice towards government, the board’s objective is to support and monitor the delivery of the UK Governments refreshed National Shipbuilding Strategy, which includes a multi-billion pound vessel pipeline due to be built over the next 30 years

Led by the expertise of the groups SME Maritime Working Group Shipbuilding and Repair Champions; The SMS Group | Ship Repair | Marine Interiors | Marine Engineering | SC SQEPDales Marine Services Ltd and Macduff Ship Design Ltd., supported by the National Maritime secretariat, the progress board will work with the UK government National Shipbuilding Office (NSO) to support the drive for transformative change to empower a globally successful, innovative and sustainable shipbuilding enterprise that works for all UK maritime SMEs.

With UK maritime SMEs playing such a significant part in the economy, it is vital that their needs are supported, and growth is enabled and encouraged.

The progress board will actively use its engagement with the NSO, UK Ministry of Defence and Government departments including the HM TreasuryUK Home OfficeCabinet OfficeDepartment for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)Department for Environment, Food and Rural AffairsFCDO Services and the Department for Transport (DfT), United KingdomDepartment for International Trade (DIT) and Department for Education, as well as the Devolved Administrations, to continually showcase the supply chain flexibility and capability of the entire UK maritime sector.

The board will seek to review, monitor the progress and delivery of the strategy to ensure that its promises are upheld.

Not since the closure of the UK shipbuilders and shiprepairers trade association, the SSA UK, has the UK shipbuilding and ship repair sector voice been heard collectively. This progress board will help drive trade and growth for all and give a bigger voice for UK maritime SMEs.

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Mocean Energy lands funds to build wave energy device for oil and gas sector

Scottish company Mocean Energy has secured €875,000 to accelerate the commercial roll-out of its wave energy technology and drive its adoption in offshore oil and gas sector.

Mocean Energy has raised a little over €875,000 equity funding from existing funders, led by angel syndicate Equity Gap, together with Old College CapitalThe University of Edinburgh’s in-house venture investment fund, and Scottish Enterprise.

The new funds will enable the company to advance the design of its next-generation Blue Star wave machine and drive its adoption in subsea oil and gas, Mocean Energy said.

Last year, the company successfully trialed its Blue X prototype at sea at the EMEC: European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, and is currently collaborating with partners to advance a demonstrator project, called ‘Renewables for Subsea Power’.

Mocean Energy has seen increasing interest from the oil and gas sector and has opened a dedicated office in Aberdeen to meet customer demand, while the firm’s staff has grown to 17.

The new funds follow a €1.03 million seed raise which was completed in 2020, comprising €735,000 equity funding plus €300,000 grant from Innovate UK, the UK government’s innovation agency.

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We’re going to need a bigger Navy

Today, the Defence Committee published the UK government response to its report “We’re going to need a bigger Navy”.

The Committee’s report called for the Government to expand the fleet, to plug capability gaps, particularly in weapons systems, and to support the British Shipbuilding Industry.

The Government’s response welcomed the Committee’s report and agrees with much of the Committee’s assessment of the strategic environment.

The Government’s response did raise a number of concerns that the Committee will follow up in future evidence sessions and correspondence including:

-The Government has once again rejected decades of consistent recommendations about how to support the British shipbuilding industry by explicitly declining to provide a guaranteed pipeline of work. The Government must urgently publish the National Shipbuilding Strategy refresh and use it to rectify this approach.

-The Government has not considered accelerating the Type 45 Power Improvement Project. In fact the timings make it appear that for at least two of the ships the time taken in PIP is actually being increased to more than 12 months.

-The plans to replace RFA Argus with the Multi Role Support Ships raise further questions. The Government should make clear if RFA Argus’s retirement date will be extended until the dedicated primary casualty receiver MRSS is operational and whether the MRSS will be configured to offer the same level of casualty support as the Argus.

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UK Increases Royal Navy Spending By £7.5 Billion Over Next Decade

The UK Ministry of Defence has issued an update to the “Defence Equipment Plan” for the years 2021-2031. The new update projected a significant increase in naval spending over the next ten years.

In accordance with the “Global Britain” policy, the UK government has already signaled its desire for a more capable Royal Navy with the Integrated Review 2021, which was published in March 2021.

The following are the most important remarks about the Royal Navy’s 10-year defense equipment plan:

-Planning to spend £38.1 billion in the equipment plan over the next ten years compared to £30.6 billion at the end of the previous planning period.

– Investing in a new lightweight torpedo for the Royal Navy ships and aircraft to replace current Stingray weapon.

-Procuring a highly capable ship to ship missile to replace current Harpoon missile system which will go out of service in 2023.

-Additional investment for the Merlin helicopters to be extended in service from 2029 until 2040.

-Having world-leading autonomous minehunting capability to replace legacy platforms.

-Increasing the capability and size of the Royal Navy’s surface fleet and allow the development of three Fleet Solid Support Ships, a Multi-Role Ocean Surveillance Capability, Multi-Role Support Ships and Type 31 and Type 32 frigates.

-Extending the life of three of the Royal Navy’s most recently refitted ships, with two of our oldest Type 23 Frigates being taken out of service.

-Launching the UK-designed cutting-edge Type 26 Anti-Submarine Warfare frigates alongside Canada and Australia

-Investing in missile and sensor upgrades for the Type 45 Sea Viper system, in directed energy weapons and in our test and evaluation capabilities.

The construction of the new National Flagship, announced by the UK Prime Minister on 30 May 2021, will be delivered by the Department of Defence but is not included in the document’s costings.

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