In the UK, a Torridge MP is ‘cautiously optimistic’ Appledore Shipyard will reopen in the near future after a crucial meeting at Downing Street.
As the North Devon Gazette reports, it follows a high level meeting convened by Geoffrey Cox at 10 Downing Street (yesterday) with the UK Government's taskforce dedicated to reopening the shipyard.
The taskforce, led by SW Business Council chairman Tim Jones has been working with the MP since the withdrawal of operator Babcock and the closure of the yard in March this year to secure new owners and to provide the Yard with a stable future.
Mr Cox, who has met potential owners and new customers to secure their support for the Yard over recent months has said that he is now 'cautiously optimistic' about its future, particularly as the Government has announced its intention to revive British shipbuilding.
The meeting heard from the Mr Cox of the shipbuilding heritage on the Torridge and its importance to the local economy.
For on this story can be read here.
Public viewing of the ceremonies will be from the William Vincent Wallace Plaza in the city centre.
LÉ George Bernard Shaw was delivered from the Babcock Marine Appledore shipyard in Devon to Cork Harbour last October.
#ports&shipping- In the UK, Babcock International has closed its Appledore shipyard yesterday, bringing down the shutters on the site in north Devon after almost two centuries.
As The Times reports, workers described the day as “heartbreaking” as they walked around the shipyard, where nearly 200 vessels have been built since 1855.
In November Babcock had confirmed that it would end its lease in Appledore after 11 years. Afloat adds the final ship to be built at the facility is the Irish Naval Service newest OPV90 / P60 class LÉ George Bernard Shaw which was floated-out just over a year ago.
The FTSE 250 defence company said that it had taken the “difficult decision” because it did not have enough work to sustain the facility. Babcock’s 199 staff at Appledore have been offered the chance to move almost two hours’ drive away, to Devonport, in Plymouth, on the opposite side of the county.
Afloat also adds the €67m OPV which was designated pennant No. (P54) is berthed in Cork City along Albert Quay where the public had free guided tours today and they will continue tomorrow on St. Patrick's Day. The guided tours will be made available by the ship’s crew between 14.00 and 17.00 hours.
#navy - A first-ever visit to Dun Laoghaire Harbour of the Naval Service newest OPV P60 class took place last weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The fourth of the Offshore Patrol Vessel class sisters to enter service, LÉ George Bernard Shaw which cost €67m docked at the Carlisle Pier on Saturday.
Originally, the 90m vessel arrived into Irish waters from UK shipbuilders last year in the month of October.
This inaugural call to Dun Laoghaire Harbour follows sisters among them LÉ James Joyce which was christened and commissioned into service in 2015.
All of the quartet were built by Babcock International at one of their English facilities, the north Devon shipyard in Appledore, which however closed down last year. This places the 2,250 tonnes vessel as the final ship to be launched from the facility near Bideford.
#NavalService - LÉ George Bernard Shaw, the latest ship to join the ranks of the Irish Navy, will be open for the public to look around next week in Galway Docks.
As the Galway Daily writes, LÉ George Bernard Shaw was brought into Naval Service this year and will have a formal naming ceremony in 2019.
The Offshore Patrol Vessel is the latest of four modern ships delivered to update the Irish Naval Service since 2014.
Free guided tours of the ship will be offered to the public by her crew on Monday, December 31 and Tuesday, January 1 from 2pm to 5pm.
The four ships built for the navy since 2014 are often referred to as the ‘Playwright’ sisters, for more read here.
#NavalService - Completion towards the Irish Naval Service newest OPV90 P60 class, LÉ George Bernard Shaw took a notable step forward this week with installation of primary armament at the newbuild's homeport in Cork Harbour, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Crane operations saw the 76mm Oto Melara gun hoisted onto the €67m Offshore Patrol Vessel newbuild (P64) LÉ George Bernard Shaw (that arrived in October) to the Naval Service base on Haulbowline Island. The location is shared with the former East Tip, legacy of the closed (west based) Irish Steel Plant, where waste by-products were transferred for dumping. The site however, as Afloat reported has undergone major remediation works, with plans subject to approval to open a new public park in 2019 (adjacent to the Naval Basin) where the fleet moor up in between patrol duties.
It was within the Naval Basin is where the crane completed its role in lowering the Oto Melara gun carefully into position of the cradle on the bow of LÉ George Bernard Shaw. Oto Melara is a subsidiary of Italian defence manufacturer, Finmeccanica S.p.A. who also supplied the main armoury featured on the trio of P60 class sisters. Likewise of the newbuild, they too were all built in recent years by Babcock Marine in north Devon.
The trio of P60's that cost €199.4m form a particular stage of the vessel replacement modernisation programme within the fleet so far, comprising leadship (P61) LÉ Samuel Beckett commissioned in 2014, (P62) LÉ James Joyce in 2015 and (P63) LÉ William Butler Yeats that entered service in 2016.
According to the Naval Service, work remains on the (P64) LÉ George Bernard Shaw, which is to take place over the coming weeks. This is where the Naval Ordnance Section is tasked to integrate the weapon with the ship's systems as the 2,250 tonnes OPV newbuild works up to Full Operational Capability.
Accommodation of the fourth P60 class is for a crew compliment of 44 personnel and berths though provision in the design also caters for an additional 10 trainees required during particular mission deployments.
As for the naming ceremony of LÉ George Bernard Shaw, coupled with an official commissioning into the Naval Service, Afloat will have more to report as developments take shape likewise of the recent external appearance of the P60 that now looks the part.
Staff at Appledore Shipyard in Devon reports BBC News have been told by owner Babcock that it will close by the end of March 2019.
The company recently lost a contract with the Armed Forces of Malta, causing financial difficulties.
Babcock said all 199 workers will be offered a move to Devonport Dockyard, also owned by the firm, 45 miles (72km) away.
'We want answers'
The GMB union said it wanted answers from the government and from Babcock about the £60m package which would have offered extra work at Devonport.
Babcock had said the extra work would not be enough to secure Appledore's future, see related report.
Some Appledore staff had been temporarily redeployed to Devonport since the news of the lost contract came through.
For more on "Save Appledore Shipyard" petition and a brief history of the facility dating to 1855, click here.
#Ports&Shipping - A mystery that has got the City's of London's defence and industry experts speculating: just who is behind Boatman Capital Research?
As Sky News reports, Boatman last week published a damning report on Babcock, the engineering services group, which is credited with knocking £130m - or 4% - from the company's stock market valuation.
Its opening paragraph says: "Our investigative team has been researching Babcock for the past six months.
"We have reviewed hundreds of pages of company accounts, government documents and have interviewed numerous sources in the defence sector.
"In our opinion, Babcock has systematically misled investors by burying bad news about its performance.
"We believe that Babcock's senior leadership team - specifically the chairman and chief executive - are not up to the job and their failings will damage the company's future prospects."
For much more on the uncertain future that awaits the West Country shipyard dating to 1855 (click here)
Afloat adds in much more recent times the yard on the River Torridge near Bideford built for the Irish Naval Service, the OPV80/P50 'Roisin' class pair LÉ Roisin in 1999 and two years later LÉ Niamh. This took place when the yard was under ownership of Appledore Shipbuilders, a subsidiary of Langham Industries.
Other orders for Irish interests included Arklow Shipping, when the facility built a pair of bulk-carriers during the early 1990's. The sisters each 7,182dwt, Arklow Brook and Arklow Bridge were sold in recent years as previously reported in Ports & Shipping news.
Plus Appledore constructed the current Shannon Ferries operated double-ended car-ferries, Shannon Dolphin in 1995 and larger half-sister Shannon Breeze in 2000.
#NavalService - The newest Irish Naval Service Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) LÉ George Bernard Shaw completed a delivery voyage from a UK shipyard to Cork Harbour, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Minister with responsibility for Defence, Mr Paul Kehoe TD, welcomed the arrival of LÉ George Bernard Shaw to the Naval Base in Haulbowline on Thursday. Commenting on the arrival, Minister Kehoe said it demonstrates the Government’s commitment to ongoing investment in the Defence Forces. “In Budget 2019, we have committed to spend an additional €29m on capital projects”
LÉ George Bernard Shaw was built by Babcock Marine's Shipbuilding Yard in Appledore, north Devon, England from where as Afloat previously reported the OPV90 carried out sea-acceptance trails in the Bristol Channel. The trials completed successfully, were attended by representatives from the Department of the Defence and the Defence Forces.
The delivery of LÉ George Bernard Shaw to Cork Harbour completes the current Naval Service ship replacement programme of four new OPV90/P60 class vessels since 2014. The class also dubbed the 'Playwright' sisters, began with leadship LÉ Samuel Beckett in 2014, LÉ James Joyce in 2015 and LÉ William Butler Yeats entering service in 2016. The value of the three-ship contract was €199.4m.
In June 2016 an agreement was reached with Babcock International for the provision of an additional OPV90/P60 to be built also at their Appledore shipyard. The agreed contract value for the further ship is €67m inclusive of VAT. This aligns with the project planning process in place under the White Paper on Defence, which will determine the Defence Organisation’s maritime capability requirements.
The LÉ George Bernard Shaw represents six of the current Irish Naval Service fleet having been built in Appledore.The new OPV will be formally named and commissioned as LÉ George Bernard Shaw at a later date.
The Minister said "The addition of the new ship will bring relief to older vessels and support a planned programme of refit and maintenance. LÉ Roisin and LÉ Niamh will receive significant mid-life refits in the period ahead.”
In recent weeks the issues of low-pay, coupled with staff shortage have been raised. In response Minister Kehoe said the Department will continue to work closely with military management to address challenges in the Naval Service.
“The current strength of the Naval Service is just over 1,000 personnel and is at approximately 92% of its establishment of 1,094. There is ongoing recruitment to the Naval Service. Any challenges in delivering the full outputs across the Defence Forces are being managed and closely monitored by the Defence Forces and the Department of Defence under my direction on a daily basis.”
#NavalService - Afloat has tracked the Irish Naval Service's latest offshore patrol vessel carry out sea-trials which involved the €67m newbuild in the Bristol Channel while off the north Devon coast from where the ship was built, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The newbuild George Bernard Shaw is the fourth sister of the P60 class built in the UK yard of Babcock Marine & Technology in Appledore from where the OPV90 ship yesterday evening departed for sea-trials. The shipyard (see previous report) is located close to Bideford on the River Torridge. The facility is also where a previous generation belonging to a pair of P50 class were completed. These smaller OPV80 sisters (the figure referring to the hull length) were built at the same site of the Babcock shipyard albeit then run by Appledore Shipbuilders.
The sea-trial saw the 23-knot capable P60 newbuild head as far west offshore of Hartland Point and later to the east but approach much closer to the shore off Illfracombe. Following these manouveres the 90m newbuild headed further west involving a figure of eight loop when off Lundy Island, before returning to the Bristol Channel.
At 2,250 tonnes the P60 class newbuild, likewise of sisters form the largest in tonnage terms in the navel fleet. The newbuild comes equipped with a comprehensive command, control and communications package while the main weapon consists of a 76mm bow-mounted gun. Installation of the gun as previously reported will be fitted later this year at the Irish Naval Service base located in Cork Harbour.
As for a delivery date to the Naval Service, this is subject to the completion of successful sea trails before a voyage can be made to the Naval Base on Haulbowline Island opposite Cobh.
The OPV by then in Irish waters will be formally named 'L.E. George Bernard Shaw' and commissioned into the Irish Naval Service.