City region military boat builder in major expansion

Marine Specialised Technology supplies high speed boats to navies in 21 countries and is to create new jobs in a relocation from Liverpool to Wirral. Tony McDonough reports

From left, Ben Kerfoot, Andy Phillips and Philip Hilbert at the new MST facility in Bromborough


High speed boat manufacturer Marine Specialised Technology (MST) is to create new jobs in a relocation from Liverpool to Wirral.

MST, which supplies high speed boats to navies in 21 countries, is currently based just south of Liverpool city centre. It also has a second facility in Leyland in Lancashire and employs a total of 120 people.

Now it has announced it has acquired a shipyard in Bromborough in Wirral from maritime business Carmet Tug Company for an undisclosed sum. It will now create a new manufacturing facility at the 6.5-acre site.

It will include total refurbishment of the existing 80m main and 50m secondary boat building halls, new offices, new car parking facilities and the construction of additional composite and fabrication facilities. 

The new facilities boast 25T overhead travelling gantry cranes, a 90m 700 tonne slipway that launches directly into the River Mersey and a 100T WISE Amphibious Boat Travel Hoist which provides additional boat launch and recovery facilities and access onto the hard standing areas. 

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MST has a long-term plan for further investment which will see the facilities expanded and enhanced even further to create a centre of excellence in the North West for small craft design, manufacture and service. 

In summer 2021, MST secured a £36m contract to build 18 police patrol craft for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Gibraltar Defence Police (GDP) Forces. In 2020 it won a £9m MOD contract to build two replacement boats for the Gibraltar Squadron Fast Patrol Craft.

Originally founded in 1974 by McTay Marine, the Bromborough shipyard produced 19 vessels before going into liquidation in 2015. It was subsequently taken over by local tug operator Carmet Marine. 

MST is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and maintainers of high-speed boats for global defence and security markets and the new facilities will allow the company to significantly expand its operations including the ability to manufacture much larger craft than current facilities permit. 

Philip Hilbert, MST’s sales director, said: “We secured these new premises at just the right time as we embark on several major contracts for our flagship “HPB” High-Speed Patrol Boat range which have been, up until now, were limited to a maximum 19m in length due to launching and logistical restrictions.

“These new larger facilities with its direct access to water now enables us to not only manufacture more craft at any one time but also to manufacture significantly larger vessels and we already have a 23m design being worked on as I speak.”

The new site’s direct water access is also a huge boost to the group’s dedicated service and maintenance division – MST Fleet Services. It can now offer their services to much larger craft arriving by water.

“Substantial” contracts have already been secured with local operators which, combined with the planned expansion of the company’s new build division, will be fuelling a significant recruitment drive.

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