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First cluster contract ship arrives at Birkenhead shipyard

posted on July 8, 2008 categories New Contracts

A Merseyside shipyard is welcoming the first ship to arrive for refit work under the new £180m ‘cluster’ contract deal it announced jointly with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) last month.

Birkenhead based Northwestern Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders Ltd (NSL) is beginning refit work worth £8.5m on the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Gold Rover. The work will see NSL maintain and update the small fleet tanker for her role refuelling Royal Navy warships and delivering aviation fuel, fresh water and some dry stores.

Along with essential maintenance and repair work, the refit encompasses a range of upgrades including a new Avon Searider rescue boat, installing an electric crane for Single Point Mooring hose recovery and replacing the diesel generators.

The work on RFA Gold Rover is the first to carried out under the MOD’s new through life support ‘cluster’ contract.. The contract will see NSL maintain four clusters of RFA ships, 11 ships in total, in a deal worth £180m over five years.

Commodore Dave Preston, Defence Equipment and Support’s Director of Afloat Support at the MOD, said: “One of the major benefits of the through life support contracts is that the companies gather experience of working on these ships. When Gold Rover returns here in 2011 for example, the team will know the ship. This closer working with the MOD also helps industry to gain a better understanding of our ongoing requirements.”

The new contracting arrangement also supports the MOD’s commitment to maintaining the necessary skills to support our Armed Forces in the UK.

The RFA Gold Rover ship is expected to return to the fleet towards the end of the year.