UK Docks begins £150m contract maintaining Royal Navy marine research vessels.

UK Docks begins £150m contract maintaining Royal Navy marine research vessels.

HMS Enterprise arrived on Teesside today marking the start of a £150m maintenance commitment which will see Royal Navy ships regularly serviced and repaired in Middlesbrough over the next decade.

UK Docks clinched the major deal against strong opposition in October last year and as well as Enterprise, we will maintain two other ships, HMS Protector and HMS Echo, over the next 10 years.

Harry Wilson, managing director of UK Docks who watched the ship arrive, said: “This is an extremely proud moment for ourselves, as a family-run firm, and the whole of our workforce. “We are absolutely thrilled to bring this work to the North East and proud that we have the skill-set, workforce, facilities and financial efficiency needed to ensure essential Royal Navy work can be carried out on our shores.”

The three vessels are all 90 metres long and because of their important roles need to have an operational availability of 334 days per ship per year.

Protector provides a UK presence in the British Antarctic Territory and meets the UK’s treaty obligations for inspections, hydrographical charting and support of scientific research. It can also be called upon to operate in the tropics.

Enterprise and her sister ship Echo deliver defence, global environmental data-gathering requirements and associated war roles.

It will be UK Docks' responsibility to ensure their availability by, if necessary, overseeing maintenance and repairs across the globe.

Since the announcement of UK Docks winning the contract, the company has increased the size of its facilities on Teesside. It has also recruited a specialist team of marine experts to meet the specialist needs of the Royal Navy.

Jonathan Wilson, director at UK Docks, said: “The Ministry of Defence naturally requires the highest possible levels of expertise and commitment when it comes to servicing its vessels and we have assembled a team and a strategy to deliver on their expectations.“We are looking forward to showing what we can do and are ready to take the next step as an ambitious company committed to progress.”

Jonathan added: “We will be managing, coordinating and planning all maintenance activity from our facilities on Tyneside, but noting our dry docks on Teesside have the capacity to service all three vessels, whenever it is possible, the servicing work on them will be carried out there.”

Enterprise is expected to remain on Teesside for several weeks before putting out to sea again towards the end of April.