South Shields-based UK Docks is beginning work on a £150million contract which will see Royal Navy ships regularly serviced and repaired in the region over the next decade.
The 90-metre long HMS Enterprise, has arrived on the River Tees, where it will spend the next three weeks undergoing essential maintenance.
We are absolutely thrilled to bring this work to the North East and proud that we have the skill-set, workforce, facilities and financial efficiency needed to ensure essential Royal Navy work can be carried out on our shores.Harry Wilson
Harry Wilson, managing director of UK Docks, said: “This is an extremely proud moment for ourselves, as a family-run firm, and the whole of our workforce.”
The firm, which was founded in 1995 in Commercial Road, operates dry docks as well as boatyards and marine service centres around the country,
It clinched the major deal against strong opposition in October last year and as well as HMS Enterprise, it will maintain two other ships, HMS Protector and HMS Echo, over the next 10 years.
“We are absolutely thrilled to bring this work to the North East and proud that we have the skill-set, workforce, facilities and financial efficiency needed to ensure essential Royal Navy work can be carried out on our shores,” said Harry.
Each of the three vessels is roughly the length of a football pitch and, because of their important roles, need to be available for operational operations for 334 days per ship per year.
Protector provides a UK presence in the British Antarctic Territory and meets the UK’s treaty obligations for inspections, hydrographical charting and support of scientific research, while Enterprise and sister ship Echo deliver defence, global environmental data-gathering requirements and associated war roles.
Under the £150million contract, which is part of the Future In-Service Support agreement, overseen by the MOD’s procurement operation Defence Equipment and Support, it will be UK Docks’ responsibility to ensure the ships’ availability by, if necessary, overseeing maintenance and repairs across the globe.
Since winning the contract, UK Docks has increased the size of its facilities on Teesside and recruited a specialist team of marine experts to meet the unique needs of the Royal Navy.
Director Jonathan Wilson said: “The Ministry of Defence naturally requires the highest possible levels of expertise and commitment when it comes to servicing vessels and we have a team and a strategy to deliver on their expectations.”