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Historic Clyde Shipyard At Govan Docks to Repair Ships Again

26th April 2022
On the Clyde the historic Govan Docks downriver of Glasgow City, are to be restored so they can repair ships once more.The docks have been derelict for 35 years.  On the Clyde the historic Govan Docks downriver of Glasgow City, are to be restored so they can repair ships once more.The docks have been derelict for 35 years. Credit: GovanDocks-twitter

On the River Clyde a £500,000 scheme was announced to re-open the A-listed derelict Govan Graving Dock, just west of the Glasgow Science Centre at Pacific Quay on the river's south side.

According to The Scotsman, the company behind the plans, Govan Drydock Ltd, said it was committed to returning the site to being a “fully operational ship repair and maintenance facility” by the end of this year.

The company hopes to win work for both commercial shipping and historic vessels and said it already had been granted a licence to operate Govan graving dock number one, which is 551ft (169m) long, 72ft (22m) wide and 22ft (6.7m) deep.

Restoration work will include on the entrance gates, block repairs, dive surveys, and cleaning.

Re-opening the docks will need planning permission from Glasgow City Council because of the change of use from their current derelict status.

The docks were built of granite in the late 19th century by the Clyde Navigation Trust, part of which was hand carved, when they could accommodate some of the largest ships in the world.

They were used for winter overhauls, repairs and refits of Clyde steamers (see TS Queen Mary) until their closure in 1987, since when they have remained derelict.

Further reading here on the story to revive the historic dockyard. 

Published in Shipyards
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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Afloat will be focusing on news and developments of shipyards with newbuilds taking shape on either slipways and building halls.

The common practice of shipbuilding using modular construction, requires several yards make specific block sections that are towed to a single designated yard and joined together to complete the ship before been launched or floated out.

In addition, outfitting quays is where internal work on electrical and passenger facilities is installed (or upgraded if the ship is already in service). This work may involve newbuilds towed to another specialist yard, before the newbuild is completed as a new ship or of the same class, designed from the shipyard 'in-house' or from a naval architect consultancy. Shipyards also carry out repair and maintenance, overhaul, refit, survey, and conversion, for example, the addition or removal of cabins within a superstructure. All this requires ships to enter graving /dry-docks or floating drydocks, to enable access to the entire vessel out of the water.

Asides from shipbuilding, marine engineering projects such as offshore installations take place and others have diversified in the construction of offshore renewable projects, from wind-turbines and related tower structures. When ships are decommissioned and need to be disposed of, some yards have recycling facilities to segregate materials, though other vessels are run ashore, i.e. 'beached' and broken up there on site. The scrapped metal can be sold and made into other items.