A BP tanker will be another floating advert for the skills of South Tyneside shipyard workers.
The 47,000-tonne British Serenity is leaving after a 26-day refit maintenance order at A&P Tyne, which was worth more than £1m and won in the face of stiff competition from foreign rivals.
The oil multinational has recently used A&P yards on the Tyne and the Tees for work on smaller vessels, but the Serenity – one of 12 vessels in BP’s Virtue Class fleet – was on a different scale.
BP said the yard won the contract having proved it could compete against other yards “on safety, quality, time and cost.”
A&P Tyne managing director Stewart Boak said: “We’ve been working hard to secure work from BP and convince it we can deliver our promises.”
He believes BP’s confidence was gained after work on the vessels Border Heather on the Tyne and the Border Thistle on the Tees, and by a team of A&P Tyne steelworkers who carried out repairs on a BP shuttle tanker in the Shetland Islands.
Mr Boak said: “Those repairs were done in gusting winds of 70 mph, at all times maintaining the safe working environment.
A&P Tyne hopes the Serenity contract will lead to more similar-sizes projects.
BP Shipping spokesman Adam Smith said: “British Serenity is the first of our deep sea fleet to come into the Tyne for more than 12 years.
“We chose to bring the British Serenity to a UK yard because the vessel was trading in North West Europe, and A&P Tyne was able to compete against other European shipyards on safety, quality, time and cost.”
The giant carrier – which is more than 183m long and 32m wide – arrived at the Hebburn yard at the end of last month.
The project – which included the blasting and painting of the hull, repairs to the bunker tank, pipe renewals and an overhaul of the main engine and the ship’s side valves – had a team of more than 200 men working on it at its peak.
Mr Boak added: “We were delighted to be awarded this prestigious contract, and we’ve delivered a first-class project on time and to budget.
“That’s a testament to our management team and our skilled workforce.”
The 210-strong workforce at A&P Tyne is busy on a £55m Ministry of Defence contract to build sections of two new Royal Navy aircraft carriers, which will secure jobs for the next five years.
It is also just starting work on an order to refit two former Royal Navy offshore patrol vessels for the Bangladeshi Navy.
Published: May 210, The Shields Gazette