BAE Systems retains ferry work at Portsmouth

Two Wightlink ferries pass each other at the entrance to Portsmouth harbour.  Picture: Gary Taw of Woodland View, Lovedean
Two Wightlink ferries pass each other at the entrance to Portsmouth harbour. Picture: Gary Taw of Woodland View, Lovedean
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BAE Systems has signed a new deal to continue its maintenance and repair work with two cross-Solent ferry firms.

The company has extended its contracts with both Wightlink and Red Funnel ferries, continuing their work on maintenance and repair of the companies’ ferries.

The cross-Solent vessels, which annually carry around seven million passengers to the Isle of Wight from Southampton, Portsmouth, and Lymington, require annual survey maintenance and paintwork to keep their routes open.

It comes after BAE Systems’ shipbuilding division announced 940 jobs were to be cut in Portsmouth, bringing an end to shipbuilding in the city.

Barry Woolley is the head of ships delivery for BAE Systems Maritime Services.

He said: ‘I’m delighted we will continue to provide maintenance and servicing for the cross-Solent ferries.

‘BAE Systems offers commercial vessel maintenance and repair and it’s an area of our business at Portsmouth Naval Base that is thriving.

‘We have the right skills and experience to maintain and support all types of maritime craft from small boats to naval warships so customers can have confidence we will deliver their vessels to suit their operational needs.’

The Wightlink programme will see all seven Portsmouth and Lymington-based ships undergo up to two-week periods in dock and will include annual inspections, engine, and propulsion unit overhauls and painting.

The work is to be carried out during the winter months, with the full fleet repair programme scheduled to get the ships back in full operation for the start of the busy summer season.

Red Funnel’s has a similar requirement, with all three of their Southampton-based ships visiting Portsmouth Naval Base for annual dockings.

BAE Systems has two main arms to its Portsmouth operation, shipbuilding and maritime services.