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Good Times Are Back For Tyne Ship Repair Yard A&P

22 March 2012

Things are on the up for A&P Tyne ship repair yard with a booming order book for the first quarter of the year.

The Hebburn yard, which suffered a disappointing end to last year with the unexpected loss of an aircraft carrier contract, has bounced back as work progresses on five vessels.

Two newly-built subsea construction vessels, chartered by Reef Subsea, are alongside Bede Quay undergoing work which includes changes to the exhaust systems and accommodation areas. The vessels were built in China but arrived at A&P at the end of last month for enhancements.

A&P Tyne projects director Darren Brown said: "It's a valuable order, lasting eight to nine weeks and the vessels are due to go out on sea trials at the end of this month. The yard also welcomed the recent arrival of the offshore support vessel Normand Oceanic, part of a large fleet operated by Subsea 7, one of the world's leading subsea engineering and construction companies.

Mr Brown added: "It's great to have her in the yard. It's a big order and this sort of work is our bread and butter.

"It's wonderful to see the yard busy again, we have over 200 people working here plus 150 sub-contractors, so it's a hive of activity."

Two vessels are also currently in dry dock undergoing general maintenance work and overhauls, lasting between seven to 10 days. In addition to ship repairs, the yard's steelwork facilities is working on several fabrication projects, and overall has been extremely successful in recent times, completing a major section of the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth six weeks ahead of schedule last summer.

However it suffered a blow last November when BAE Systems decided to reclaim some carrier work it originally intended to sub-contract to A&P.

Mr Brown added: "We are dealing with some big companies and we are now becoming the yard of choice in many instances. It's not always just down to price, it's quality and schedule and a major factor is safety - and we have an exceptional safety record."

A&P Tyne managing director Stewart Boak said: "Following a relatively quiet time at the end of 2011, itís pleasing to now feel a buzz about the yard.

"We are now working extremely hard to secure new contracts for the second half of the year to maintain the momentum we have generated this year to date."