Firm wins deal to maintain Isle of Wight ferry fleet

ALL SMILES Brian Needle Testbank technical director, John Burrows Wightlink operations director, Jason Coltman Testbank managing director and Karl Kerry, Testbank general manager
ALL SMILES Brian Needle Testbank technical director, John Burrows Wightlink operations director, Jason Coltman Testbank managing director and Karl Kerry, Testbank general manager
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A SHIP repair facility in Portchester has sealed a deal to maintain and repair Wightlink ferries.

Ship repairer Testbank has won a five-year maintenance contract with the Isle of Wight operator.

The company is based in Southampton, but will be using its specialist facility at Trafalgar Wharf in Porchester to carry out the work.

It will start with 10-day refits of two high-speed passenger catamarans, Wight Ryder 1 and 2.

Both 40-metre aluminium cast hulls will be hoisted by the company’s 1,000-tonne Rolls Royce syncrolift, one of the biggest of its kind in the south.

Testbank managing director Jason Coltman said: ‘This is another significant, long-term contract win which comes as we continue to expand our activities at Trafalgar Wharf.

‘To have the security and stability of this work is great news.’

Up to 10 staff will be involved on the refits at any given time, under the direction of technical director Brian Needle, who agreed the deal, and Testbank general manager Karl Kerry.

Wightlink brought the two purpose-built catamarans into service in 2009 as part of a multi-million pound investment in its cross-Solent routes.

Both have a capacity of 260 passengers.

The Wightlink work is the latest success for Testbank since it reopened the ship lift facility on the Portchester waterside after five years of decommissioning.

The company recently won a five-year contract, worth an estimated £1m a year, with Serco Marine Services to refit its south-east fleet based at Portsmouth Naval Base.

John Burrows, operations director at Wightlink, said: ‘Every vessel needs maintenance and refitting from time to time.

‘Testbank has all the skills, experience and facilities to do a great job for us in looking after these essential high-speed ferries.’