UP to 100 new jobs are on their way to Cornwall after A&P Group’s Falmouth yard, the internationally-renowned ship repair company, won a multi-million pound contract this week.
The contract not only secures A&P’s growing reputation in the marine renewable energy sector, but dozens of highly-skilled jobs at the dockyard.
It will see A&P Falmouth constructing100 tonne blade racks for two self-propelled jack-up vessels owned by Seajacks International. The state-of-the-art vessels are purpose built for installing and maintaining offshore wind turbines, and are being converted for use on a huge wind farm off Liverpool.
Peter Child, Managing Director of A&P Falmouth, said: “This is a very significant new contract for us and we are delighted to be working at the forefront of the marine renewables sector. We won the contract in stiff competition with many of the UK’s other major yards.
“It is fantastic news not only for A&P, but for the whole of Falmouth and the wider local economy. With the country in a period of economic uncertainty, to be able to create new jobs is something we are proud of and confirms our commitment to the town.
“Many of the jobs will be for highly skilled workers, such as engineers, electricians, steel workers, plumbers and painters.”
Both purpose-built vessels – the Seajacks Leviathan and Seajacks Kraken – will arrive in Falmouth over the coming months to have the blade racks installed.
The racks carry massive wind turbine blades to offshore wind farms. Once on site the four legs are lowered to the seabed and the vessel jacked up out of the water to provide a stable platform for installing the wind turbines.
Mr Child said: “The distinctive vessels will be quite a spectacle when they come into the docks as they are quite different from the ships people usually see on blocks. They will jack up on their legs, which makes them look like an oil rig.”
Work has already begun on the planning and materials stage of the contract and it is hoped the blade racks will be built by the beginning of April. The Seajacks vessels are due in Falmouth during May. While they are in the docks, A&P will also undertake a full maintenance work package on the vessels.
A spokesman for Seajacks said: “‘Seajacks are please to be working with A&P Falmouth to deliver the mobilisation of Seajacks Kraken and Seajacks Leviathan for the Walney 2 offshore wind farm project.
“This mobilisation work includes fabrication of significant structures which need to be installed on the vessel in a short period of time. Seajacks are confident that the proactive approach adopted by A&P Falmouth will allow the works to be facilitated in the timescales required.”
Last year was a year of rapid growth for A&P in the marine renewable energy sector, thanks to the company’s focus on meeting the needs of offshore wind developers.
In November 2010 Marine Designs Ltd, part of the A&P Group, scooped a Green Energy award for an innovative pontoon system designs to support the offshore renewables industry.
The company won the Best Business Innovation Award at the annual Regen SW Green Energy Awards, regarded as the Oscars of the region’s renewable energy industry, for the Dockmaster pontoon system.