InfraStrata, the firm buying Harland and Wolff, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Navantia.
Navantia say that the agreement with InfraStrata at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast will allow them “to work on the Fleet Solid Support Ships and other offshore projects”.
Navantia are participating in this tender in partnership with BMT. The rationale for this, say Navantia, is that “BMT has proven naval design and engineering capability, including support ships for the UK (Tide Class) and Norwegian (HNoMS Maud) defence ministries, and as design partner in the Carrier Alliance”. The firm adds that “through the combined strengths of their partnership, the Navantia-BMT proposal assures low technical risk, budget viability and timely delivery”.
The design being offered by the Navantia team and pictured above originates with BMT. Read more about the Navantia and BMT teaming agreement here.
According to a press release from the firm:
“Navantia has just signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the British company InfraStrata that basically seeks collaboration in the program of the three Fleet Solid Support (FSS) vessels for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, as well as exploring opportunities for collaboration in other areas, especially in wind for the fields of the United Kingdom.
John Wood, chief executive of Infrastrata, said:
“Navantia is world renowned for its shipbuilding capabilities and offshore infrastructure expertise and experience, and therefore has access to significant commercial opportunities in these sectors. The combination of Navantia’s footprint in these sectors and Harland & Wolff’s fabrication and other support capabilities offers the ideal commercial environment to bring large and challenging projects to successful fruition.”
According to Infrastrata the Spanish shipbuilder would be able to utilise the assets at the yard to support its tender for a £1.5 billion contract for the three new Fleet Solid Support ships. Navantia earlier said that its intention is to enlarge UK supply chain involvement.
The £1.5bn competition to build up to three Fleet Solid Support Ships for the Royal Navy was recently suspended.
Competing for the work was a British consortium consisting of companies Babcock, BAE Systems, Cammell Laird and Rolls-Royce (forming Team UK) and international bidders Fincantieri (Italy), Navantia (Spain), Japan Marine United Corporation, and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (South Korea).
Fincantieri and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering had already withdrawn, according to the Financial Times. This left only Team UK, Navantia and Japan Marine United Corporation.
The Ministry of Defence said in a statement:
“It is clear that the current approach will not deliver the requirement. We are now considering the most appropriate way forward for the procurement project.”
It is expected that the project will be restarted in early 2020. Navantia say that “during this transition period, and waiting for the new requirements for the FSS project to be published, Navantia continues working to better position itself in the reopening of the contest, where the English industry participation is predicted crucial”. Presumably, they mean British industry, given they’re teaming up with a shipyard in Belfast which is categorically not in England.
It has also been reported that some regard the suspension as a first step to reclassifying the vessels to be exempt from EU laws, allowing them to be built in the UK rather than overseas.