A&P Tyne ship repair yard has made a good start to 2012 with a multi-million pound order book for the first quarter of the year.
The Hebburn yard, which suffered a disappointing end to 2011 with the unexpected loss of an aircraft carrier contract, has bounced back and is now bustling with activity 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 which will enable them to better meet the needs of the oil, gas and renewables industries.
A&P Tyne Projects Director Darren Brown said: “In addition to the exhaust system changes, we are upgrading the accommodation, increasing the number of cabins and shower facilities and supporting the ROV (remotely operated vehicle) team in rebuilding the ROV control centre.
“It’s a valuable order, lasting 8-9 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.
A&P Tyne successfully fulfilled four important orders for Subsea 7 last year and is delighted to secure repeat custom.
The 156.9 metre long Normand Oceanic is due to undergo electrical work for ROV installation, the installation of new cabling and modifications to bulwarks.
Mr Brown added: “It’s scheduled to take 17 days and it’s quite intense, it will be round-the-clock, there’s a lot of equipment to be installed. 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 – the offshore support ship Highland Prestige and the Ugland UR141 barge from Norway – are currently in dry dock undergoing general maintenance work and overhauls, lasting between 7-10 days.
Mr Brown said: “It’s traditional, dry dock programme work, all of which is very welcome, it keeps business going and people employed.”
In addition to ship repairs, the yard’s steelwork facility is working on several fabrication projects, including a big order for Sparrow Baricon, re-building an existing carousel together with a new lay tower for their client Technip Offshore Wind Ltd, scheduled to take four months to complete.
The yard 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, but 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, such as Subsea 7, 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, it’s pleasing to now feel a buzz about the yard.
“The increase in contracts creates an excellent opportunity for A&P to demonstrate that we can deliver high-quality, on-time, cost effective product to our customers.
“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.”