Cammell Laird converts £70m MoD support vessel

Workers at Merseyside shipyard Cammell Laird are converting an offshore support vessel for the UK Ministry of Defence as part of a £619m long-term contract. Tony McDonough reports

RFA Proteus
RFA vessel RFA Proteus at Cammell Laird in Birkenhead


Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead is converting a platform support vessel formerly owned by P&O for the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

In January 2023 the MoD acquired MV Topaz Tangaroa from P&O for £70m. It has now tasked Cammell Laird with converting the vessel which will now be renamed RFA Proteus and join the Royal Fleet Auxilliary fleet.

Cammell Laird is well acquainted with the RFA fleet. In 2018 the business won two 10-year contracts to provide the maintenance and upkeep of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) vessels worth a total of £619m.

Comprising 13 vessels the RFA fleet provides logistical and operational support to the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines across the world.

RFA Proteus will be repurposed to provide multi-role ocean surveillance. Cammell Laird workers will prepare the vessel for its new role, with works to the crane and deck machinery as well as a full paint scheme and name change.

Cammell Laird’s cluster support team (CST) supports the RFA while at home and in operational theatre across the globe.

READ MORE: Cammell Laird targets share of £24bn Navy budget

The firm has supported nine of the 13 vessel strong RFA fleet in total which includes the Fort-class, replenishment ships, the Wave-class tankers and new Tide-class tankers.

David McGinley, chief executive of Cammell Laird, said: “Cammell Laird was delighted to welcome the newest member of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s flotilla.

RFA Proteus will deliver vital underwater surveillance and safeguarding critical seabed warfare infrastructure.

“We wish RFA Proteus and her crew the very best as she embarks on her future endeavours.”

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