Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to build a new British flagship vessel and Merseyside shipyard Cammell Laird says it is ready and willing to deliver the project. Tony McDonough reports
Merseyside shipbuilding and engineering firm Cammell Laird said it is ready and willing to build Britain’s new national flagship vessel to replace the Royal Yacht Britannia.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he wants work on the vessel to begin within 12 months so it is ready to set sail by 2025. He wants it to showcase British design, engineering and green technology.
Mr Johnson said: “This new national flagship will be the first vessel of its kind in the world, reflecting the UK’s burgeoning status as a great, independent maritime trading nation.”
And on Tuesday, Cammell Laird chief executive David McGinley said the Birkenhead-based shipyard was the “UK’s premier ship builder”, having just completed the £200m British polar expedition vessel, RSS Sir David Attenborough. He added: “Cammell Laird knows what it takes to deliver vessels of vital national importance.
“We have completed some of the most ambitious ship building projects in modern times, through the recent construction of RSS Sir David Attenborough, the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, and delivering critical units of the next generation nuclear submarines, Astute and Dreadnought on behalf of BAE.
“It is this experience that makes Cammell Laird the only UK shipyard who can partner with Government to deliver this vessel, a partnership that will significantly de-risk the project, enable it to be delivered at speed and maximise value for money.”
In addition to the construction of RRS Sir David Attenborough, Cammell Laird has delivered a range of specialised vessels including RoRo and RoPax ferries for Red Funnel, Western Ferries and Strangford Ferries.
David McGinley said he welcomed the Government’s decision to place this contract with a UK shipyard and that the construction of the National Flagship would unlock a huge amount of social value in the North West of England.
He explained: “The construction of the new vessel will unlock the full social benefits of the contract for the people of Wirral and Merseyside and the wider maritime supply chain, as well as supporting the Government’s levelling up agenda by delivering a significant national infrastructure programme in the North West of England.”
In May, Cammell Laird said it would cut 146 people from its 722-strong workforce after they agreed to voluntary redundancy. It said the businesses would embark on a “programme of transformation”.
Mr McGinley added: “We will continue to develop our successful apprenticeship and training programme that has already recruited over 300 apprentices, including 46 in the past year alone.
“Furthermore, the contract will enable us to accelerate one of our strategic objectives to create a ‘Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence’ on the banks of the River Mersey at Cammell Laird, which will incentivise innovation and create the skilled workforce the UK will need to compete in the global economic marketplace.”