A&P Falmouth, the internationally-renowned ship repair company and part of A&P Group, has won a major contract with the historic steamship SS Shieldhall, based in Southampton.
The contract was won against stiff competition from other shipyards and cements A&P’s reputation for excellence and efficiency.
It also highlights the company’s long-term partnering relationship with the SS Shieldhall – the largest steamship of her type in Europe – and the importance of repeat business to A&P.
The contract will see A&P Falmouth undertaking major hull repair and modification work in dry dock, extending the life of the steamship for another 25 years. Work will take place in April 2014 and is being funded by a £1.4 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
Graham Mackenzie, Marketing Director of Solent Steam Packet, said: “It was a highly competitive contract because we had to comply with HLF’s procurement guidelines and get a minimum of three quotes.
“We chose A&P Falmouth because it not only represented the best value for money, but because it put together a very detailed response and we felt it enabled us to go back to the yard we have worked with for the past 10 years, where we have built up a rapport with the management and the workers on the coal face.
“We are delighted to be coming back to A&P Falmouth. If someone had asked where we would really like the work to be done then we would have said with A&P, because of our previous experience, but for this contract, best value was the overriding consideration.
“Work on a heritage ship such as ours is quite special and it’s not the sort of job any shipyard can do, it has to be sympathetic to what we are trying to do. A&P really is a trusted name for us.”
A heritage cargo-passenger ship, included in the National Historic Fleet, Shieldhall was built and launched on the Clyde in 1955, to a classic pre-WW2 design. She had a long and successful first career with Glasgow Corporation – year round, carrying treated sludge out to sea and, in the summer, taking passengers on pleasure trips. Bought in 1977 by Southern Water she was finally withdrawn from commercial service in 1985 – but saved and purchased for £20,000 in 1988 by the charity that still operates her now.
Today the 2,000 tonne Shieldhall is a unique seagoing ‘time capsule’. She provides a working example of steamship machinery both above and below deck, typical of the cargo and passenger ships that plied the oceans of the world between the 1870s and 1960s, after which they became all but extinct. Whilst other heritage ships are held permanently in dry dock, Shieldhall remains active, with a cruise programme that allows passengers to access the engine room with its two impressive 800HP steam engines at work and the bridge, complete with traditional instruments and gleaming brasswork. The hull repairs to be undertaken by A&P will mean Shieldhall will gain a fully certified UK Class III Certificate enabling her to take a ‘conservation in action’ message beyond her Solent base. Shieldhall’s 2014 sailing dates are listed at www.ss-shieldhall.co.uk
Peter Child, Managing Director of A&P Falmouth, said: “This is a significant contract for us and we are delighted to working with Shieldhall once again. She has strong ties with Falmouth and we are pleased to celebrate the continuing success of the partnership and Shieldhall’s confidence in A&P Falmouth to carry out the work.
“Once again we have proved we provide excellent value for money and a high standard of workmanship. We look forward to continuing this relationship and welcoming Shieldhall and the team to Falmouth.”