Merseyside shipyard Cammell Laird is reporting a strong first four months of 2019, with 25 ships arriving for drydocking and repairs during the period.

In total Cammell Laird has received 11 ferries at its Birkenhead site in the Liverpool City Region from January to the end of April, along with 14 other vessels.

According to a release from the firm:

“The successful start to the year has involved work carried out for 13 different clients, aided by repeat business for a number of customers. The period also saw inaugural arrival of the 39,000 tonne Tide-class tanker Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Tidespring marking the start of two Through Life Support contracts that will see Cammell Laird maintain nine vessels of the RFA over the next 10 years.

The successful re-tender of the RFA contract will also shortly see the arrival of RFA Tiderace, another of the new Tide class tankers as well as the RFA Fort Victoria which completed a £44m refit at Cammell Laird at the end of 2018 and will return for a drydocking period.”

Tony Graham, chief operating officer at Cammell Laird, said the workload was similar to the strong start the business made to 2018 in terms of vessel movements for customers including Seatruck, Irish Ferries, Svitzer, Calmac, Mersey Travel, the RFA, Red Funnel, Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Smit Kotug, P&O, PetroFac, Geoquip, Stena and the National Environmental Research Council (NERC).

“We have experienced a good start to the year thanks to the high standard of facilities and skills Cammell Laird can offer customers. Notable pieces of work have included the building of the £10m freight ferry the Red Kestrel, which sailed away in April following a nine-month build programme and came after we saw off international competitors to win the contract. 

We have also completed moon pool installations on the offshore supply ship Toisa Vigilant and retractable thruster installations on the Dublin Swift ferry. The scale and breadth of work Cammell Laird carries out demonstrates the reputation we have built with our customers who trust us to deliver only the best quality workmanship, on time at competitive prices.  We are keen to build on this and win more work from new and existing clients.”

Mr Graham also said the coming months will see notable work on the offshore supply ship, the Irish Sea Pioneer, which will undergo a refit, including upgrades to the accommodation and power management system, steel works and general drydock specifications.

“We have an active period coming up as we will also finish building the RSS Sir David Attenborough (SDA) polar ship, the biggest commercial shipbuilding project in Britain for 30 years which again we won against fierce international competition,” he said. “This stellar project showcases the world-class skills and infrastructure we have at Cammell Laird. We have bold and ambitious plans to catapult the company further into the shipbuilding market building on the success for the SDA.

This including seeking to win the new £1.25billion contract to build five Type 31e warships for the UK MOD with our partner BAE Systems with a decision expected later this year.

We are active with the TEAM UK consortium with the Government expected to announce the winning Fleet Solid Support bid in 2020.

In addition, later this year we very much look forward to welcoming the first of six Royal Navy Type 45 Destroyers as part of a £160 million contract to upgrade and modernise the power propulsion systems, a deal we are working on with BAE Systems and BMT. This deal again showcases our complex shipbuilding capabilities.”

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At last some good news….

Nigel Collins

Agreed Andrew!

Geoffrey Roach

Strange old life isn’t. Good news all round and yet only three of us have commented.


Bloody brilliant!! This is what you want to see!! Now here’s hoping some of the other yards are able to follow suit.


Good to see Cammell Laird, a famous Scottish name, doing well in England. Is it too much to hope that UK shipbuilding has turned a corner and we hadn’t noticed?


Oh no.. .what a UK yard doing well not crying because of competition.

Not unrelated…. on the SSS competition.

“Fincantieri pulled out originally because the U.K. wanted a proposal based on a new design, which involves a good deal of work and a big investment, and there was no funding from the MoD for that,” the source added. “Additionally, the competition appeared tailor-made for the U.K. consortium.”
Fincantieri declined to comment.


This is excellent news but what are the chances that the Gov’t will use all of the work Cammel Laird have going on as an excuse to not give them a look in on T31e and/or FSS…?


Great, now let’s get Appledore some work before it really goes to the dogs. It’s crazy how most UK big city’s next to the sea once had a huge shipbuilding industry!.


Politically, what with Brexit putting the Union under strain I reckon H&W in Belfast trumps Appledore.

George Amery

Hi folks hope all are well.
Yes this is great news, about time as well. Hope this is the first phase of the UK ship building program. This at the very least keeps the specialist skills required for future developments.
Best wishes


Yes, I think it is the first fruits of a regeneration of UK shipbuilding, and importantly it is ‘from within’. Cammell Laird is a famous Scottish name and their raison d’etre is shipbuilding. Regardless of their motive BAE’s move to step aside as a prime bidder for T31 was liberating decision not only for CL but one hopes for the whole of the UK shipbuilding sector.