Titanic company H&W to build first ships in over 20 years in Belfast shipyard following the recent announcement.
There was great news for Belfast recently as the Harland and Wolff shipyard, as part of the Team Resolute consortium, whose aim is to deliver three fleet solid support ships to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, was selected as the preferred bidder last November.
The consortium comprises BMT, Navantia UK and Harland and Wolff. The three ships will be the first ships by Harland and Wolff in Belfast since the official launch of MV Anvil Point in 2002.
Harland and Wolff shipyard – a historic Belfast shipyard
The Harland and Wolff shipyard is a historic shipyard that is well-known around the globe. Perhaps it is most famous for being the shipyard responsible for building the infamous Titanic ship.
In 2019, the shipyard’s future seemed quite uncertain as they were placed into administration.
However, thankfully their future was secured when InfraStrata (now Harland and Wolff) acquired it for £6 million.
It now looks to have been quite a wise move. The company has secured the contract to build three support ships for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
The creation of 900 jobs in Belfast – great news for the local economy
The announcement is also great news for the local Belfast economy, as around 900 jobs will come from this venture. It is being described as a “historic moment for shipbuilding in Belfast”.
The £1.6 billion contract is expected to generate up to 1,200 UK shipyard jobs, 900 of which will be in Belfast. Also, 800 additional jobs will be created across the supply chain.
As part of the deal, £100 million of investment from Team Resolute will go into UK shipyards.
This includes £77 million of infrastructure, the majority of which will go into Harland and Wolff’s Belfast and Appledore shipyards, with an additional £21 million in skills and technology transfer from Navantia UK.
With the three support ships slated to be operational by 2032, production will begin in 2025. Meanwhile, yard improvements have already started.
A warmly welcomed announcement – a brilliant opportunity for Belfast
All parties in and around Belfast warmly welcomed the announcement. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris visited the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast on the day the contract was confirmed.
Mr Wallace described the contract as a “significant boost” to the UK’s shipbuilding industry.
He said, “Creating jobs and prosperity, Team Resolute is bringing shipbuilding back to Belfast, developing a modern, resilient and thriving shipbuilding industry that will support naval and commercial shipbuilding into the future”.
Harland and Wolff chief executive John Wood echoed the Defence Secretaries’ sentiments.
“This is the last chance to capture the excellent shipbuilding skills that remain in Belfast and Appledore before they are lost, and pass them on to the next generation of UK shipbuilders.
“UK Government has seized this opportunity and, in doing so, ensured the long-term survival of our shipyards and significantly bolstered sovereign shipbuilding capability”, he said.
Union representative Joe Passmore of Unite hailed the announcement as a “historic moment for shipbuilding in Belfast”.