Cammell Laird wins two Royal Fleet Auxiliary contracts worth £619m

Birkenhead shipyard and engineering firm will maintain nine RFA vessels in two 10-year deals and vowed to create 100 new apprenticeships. Tony McDonough reports

Cammell Laird
Apprentices at Birkenhead shipyard Cammell Laird


Mersey shipyard and engineering firm Cammell Laird has secured two 10-year contracts to support the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) vessels worth a total of £619m.

The deal, with the Ministry of Defence, will sustain more than 300 jobs at the Birkenhead business and in the supply chain and will lead to the creation of 100 apprenticeships.

RFA cluster

Cammell Laird first won an RFA cluster contact in 2008 and the new Future In Service Support (FISS) contract, will see Cammell Laird maintain nine ships of the RFA flotilla, the maximum number the company could win.

The business will continue to support the ships in ‘lot one’, covering the RFA Fort Victoria, RFA Fort Austin, RFA Fort Rosalie, RFA Wave Knight and RFA Wave Ruler, at an estimated value of £357m.

And it has also won ‘lot three’ which covers the four new Tide Class tankers, Tidespring, Tiderace, Tidesurge and Tideforce at an estimated value of £262m.

New deal

Cammell Laird chief executive John Syvret said the cluster contract has underpinned the company for the last decade enabling it to invest more than £500m in its workforce, apprenticeship programme, infrastructure, supply chain and local area.

Cammell Laird bids for £1.25bn Naval frigate contract – click to read more

He added: “Winning this new deal will give us the ability to continue our vital apprentice training programme recruiting talented young people from the area at the same drum beat of around 20 new apprentices a year.

“I am very proud to say we have recruited more than 200 apprentices since 2008 investing more than £12m in staff training.

“The benefits the RFA contract brings to our region cannot be overstated and we will maintain our commitment to ensure this money is invested responsibly in our workforce and infrastructure to support the future requirements of the MoD and growth of the UK’s maritime sector.”

RFA Wave Knight
RFA Wave Knight, a Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel. Picture courtesy of the MoD



The contracts form part of a wider £1bn deal that will secure hundreds of jobs at shipyards right across the country, announced by Defence Minister Stuart Andrew. The deal covers 17 ships and will improve how spares, repairs and maintenance work are carried out.

John Kennedy, Cammell Laird MoD programme director said winning the new contracts is testament to the relationship and understanding Cammell Laird has built with the MoD and the RFA over the last 10 years.

“This is tremendous news for everyone involved in Cammell Laird and all the organisations and people who support our vision to bring a renaissance of ship repair and ship building to Merseyside and the UK,” he said.

“We have built an enduring relationship with the MoD and the RFA which has consistently driven value for money. The cornerstone of the success is our collaborative approach bringing the MoD, RFA, the customer’s contractors and our supply chain together generating in-depth understanding of the ships and the engineering they require.”

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