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Scotland & Isle of Man: Northern Lighthouse Board to Replace Aids to Navigation Tender NLV Pole Star

9th July 2021
Image of Northern Lighthouse Board's newbuild buoy-tender vessel to replace NLV Pole Star, based in Oban, west Scotland. As AFLOAT adds the vessel built in 2000 by Ferguson Shipbuilders, Port Glasgow, for NLB, one of three General Lighthouse Authorities (GLA) in Ireland & UK, has carried out duties on behalf of Irish Lights where operations dictated redeployment of vessels. For example AFLOAT notes NLV Pole Star has worked out of Dun Laoghaire Harbour having berthed at the jetty of the East Pier. Image of Northern Lighthouse Board's newbuild buoy-tender vessel to replace NLV Pole Star, based in Oban, west Scotland. As AFLOAT adds the vessel built in 2000 by Ferguson Shipbuilders, Port Glasgow, for NLB, one of three General Lighthouse Authorities (GLA) in Ireland & UK, has carried out duties on behalf of Irish Lights where operations dictated redeployment of vessels. For example AFLOAT notes NLV Pole Star has worked out of Dun Laoghaire Harbour having berthed at the jetty of the East Pier. Credit: Northern Lighthouse Board

The General Lighthouse Authority (GLA) for Scotland and the Isle of Man, the Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) has embarked on a project to replace the NLV Pole Star after more than two decades in service.

NLV Pole Star is nearing an end of a career with a newbuild target in-service date of September 2024. This will see the replacement aids to navigation tender meet the ambitious environmental targets set out in the UK Government Clean Maritime Plan, whilst future-proofing NLB’s ability to deliver its vital safety services over the next 25 years.

The new vessel will incorporate contemporary green hybrid energy systems and will be designed to be upgradeable through-life to accommodate emerging power technologies.  The vessel will also provide improved sea keeping and heavy weather performance over its predecessor and therefore be able to deliver more effective response to wrecks and new navigational dangers as well as routine operational tasking.

A concept design has been developed in collaboration with OSK-ShipTech of Copenhagen who assisted the project team, which includes ship and shore staff, NLB Commissioners and Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL). This concept design and detailed specification is being used to inform both the business case and procurement exercise.

Mike Bullock, NLB’s Chief Executive said: “This is a very exciting project and we are delighted to have recently received Ministerial and Cabinet Office approval of the Outline Business Case (OBC). This means we can now progress to the procurement phase for the design and build of the new vessel.

“The new vessel will be a step change from what has gone before bringing innovation and new technology to minimise the impact on the environment and ensure that we can continue to protect mariners operating in Scottish and Manx waters. The vessel will also follow a tradition which started in 1892 by being the fifth NLB vessel to bear the name Pole Star.”

The procurement exercise began on 19 May 2021 with the publication of the initial call for interested shipyard builders to respond to a Selection Questionnaire. Subsequently, short listed yards will enter into a detailed tendering exercise which will lead to contract award in mid-2022.

In April, information from NLB’s Industry Engagement events was held and can be found on the NLB website and via the following Industry Event portal here. 

This opportunity has been published on Delta eSourcing which is a tool for buyers and suppliers for managing tenders. Interested tenderers must register on the Delta Platform to access key documents and to take part in this procurement activity, click this link.

Published in Lighthouses
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Irish Lighthouses

Irish Lights is a maritime organisation delivering essential 24/7 safety and navigation services around the coast of Ireland 365 days. Its focus is reliable and cost-effective services which protect people, property and the marine environment, and support marine industry and coastal communities.

Irish Lights is responsible for providing marine aids to navigation under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention. This remit includes: providing and maintaining over 300 general aids to navigation, managing about 4,000 local aids to navigation and marking or removing dangerous wrecks outside harbour areas around Ireland. Irish Lights also provides contract commercial services for ship charter, buoy and marine data services and supports tourism and heritage activities.

Emergency Response: If you notice any aid to navigation is not functioning correctly please contact our 24-hour emergency number 01 280 1996

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