A&P Group, the UK’s largest provider of ship repair, conversion and marine services, has been awarded a multi-million pound Ministry of Defence (MoD) contract to complete the fit-out of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s new fleet of four tankers.
The new Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) tankers will maintain the Royal Navy’s ability to refuel at sea and will provide fuel to warships and task groups. The tankers will support deployed amphibious, land and air forces close to the shore and will have the ability to operate helicopters.
A&P Group, which is owned by Atlantic & Peninsula Marine Services Limited and has facilities in Falmouth, Tyneside, Teeside and Sydney in Australia, will customise the vessels to UK MoD standards and will support the vessels as they go through their initial capability assessment trials.
The four tankers are planned to enter service from 2016 and A&P Group will provide through-life support to all four ships in service for a minimum of three years.
John Syvret CBE, CEO of Atlantic & Peninsula Marine Services Limited, said this latest contract will underpin the growth of A&P Group over the next five years.
Mr Syvret said: “This contract reflects the capability and capacity of A&P Group and is recognition of the calibre of the infrastructure and work force which exists in A&P Falmouth and across the group as a whole.
“The Tide-class tankers are an example of the contracts and market opportunities that A&P Group can secure – strengthening the long term growth of A&P Group and driving employment opportunities which will result in strong regional economic growth. These opportunities lie at the heart of the long term strategy for A&P Group in Falmouth, Tyneside, Teeside, and in Sydney Australia.”
The Tide-class tankers are currently under construction in South Korea. Each of four new Tide-class tankers – RFA Tidespring, RFA Tiderace, RFA Tidesurge and RFA Tideforce – will be 201 metres long, with a beam of nearly 29 metres and displacing more than 37,000 tonnes. The first tanker, RFA Tidespring, is due to arrive in the UK in December 2015. She will be followed by her three sister ships at six-monthly intervals.
A&P Group Managing Director, Andy Shaw said: “The contract is significant for A&P Falmouth where the majority of the works will be undertaken utilising the company’s deep water facilities and heavy engineering infrastructure. The contract also provides A&P group’s port business, Falmouth Docks and Engineering Company, (the Statutory Harbour Authority), with additional business streams and enables it to progress with its ambitious growth strategy.” As a result of this contract, A&P Group will now be maintaining 13 Royal Navy vessels from its base in Falmouth.
A&P Group already has a contract to support and maintain RFA ships at home and abroad until 2018. Under the Cluster Support Progamme, A&P Group provides maintenance support to groups of MoD vessels which include RFA Argus and the RFA Bay Class vessels Mounts Bay, Cardigan Bay and Lyme Bay.
A&P Group also has contracts with BAE Systems to support the three River Class offshore patrol vessels HMS Mersey, HMS Tyne and HMS Severn plus the two hydrographic survey vessels HMS Echo and Enterprise.
Mr Shaw said: “A&P as a group continues to demonstrate its exemplary track record, not only to the RFA but also the wider defence sector. A&P Group contracts include the MoD Aircraft Carrier build programme and the Astute contract. A&P Australia continues to service HMAS Choules in contract with the Royal Australian Navy.
“Securing this contract further cements the relationship with the MoD and demonstrates the confidence in A&P to deliver excellent service in a highly effective and economical way.”