A SOUTH Tyneside yard is chasing new contracts in the energy and offshore markets as it bids to boost its order book.
Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn was told about A&P Tyne’s efforts to diversify its operations during a tour of the Hebburn facility.
Although forced to make redundancies after a recent defence contract blow, managing director Stewart Boak said the yard is set for fresh orders.
Speaking after Mr Hepburn’s visit, Mr Boak said: “We spent an hour in the boardroom, during which we discussed A&P’s current workload and plans for the future.
“Stephen was impressed that, despite difficult market conditions at the present time, A&P is still looking to long-term opportunities in the energy markets and offshore wind, to complement our marine shipping core work.”
About 90 jobs were lost before Christmas when part of a £55m order for two aircraft carriers was switched to Portsmouth.
But the yard is fighting back, recently winning a series of smaller contracts to secure their long-term future.
Work has just been completed on the European Supporter, which has been adapted as a cable-laying vessel for the offshore wind market.
Last week, offshore supply ships Neptune Despina and Neptune Larissa sailed into the Hebburn yard for repairs set to last two months.
Although there are fears over a loss of part of a carriers contract if customer BAE Systems in Portsmouth closes, A&P Tyne is successfully securing work to fill an orders vacuum.
Mr Hepburn and Mr Boak discovered they had family links, with Mr Hepburn’s late father, Peter, having worked with Mr Boak’s grandfather, John Boak, at the old water board.
Both men also attended the former Springfield Comprehensive School in Jarrow.
Mr Boak added: “Moving on to more important issues, we discussed football, an interesting subject, with my colours being black and white and Stephen’s red and white.”