BRITAIN’S largest independent ship repairer has been chosen to work on vessels for both Wightlink and Gosport Ferry Ltd.
Burgess Marine, which merged with Portchester-based Testbank in January this year, will refit Wightlink’s high-speed craft and Gosport Ferry’s four ships as part of a £5m contract.
The work on Wightlink’s Wight Rider I and II was previously carried out by Testbank, which has a 1,000 tonne syncrolift at its base in Trafalgar Wharf, Portchester, which is used to lift heavy ships out of the water.
Wightlink signed up for five years and Gosport Ferry for three.
Brian Needle, Burgess Marine’s technical director for commercial marine and defence, said: ‘This is great news for the site and really great news for the business.
‘Wightlink and Gosport Ferry are arguably our most important local customers and it’s fantastic news that they’ve shown us a long-term commitment to both the Portchester site and Burgess Marine. We’re all extremely excited, grateful and very proud that they’ve agreed to come back year after year.’
Burgess Marine and Testbank merged in January, with Testbank’s 120 staff moving over to work under the Burgess Marine banner.
It now has workshops and offices in Portchester, Portsmouth Naval Base, Southampton, Dover, Poole and Avonmouth, supporting passenger ports and shipping in the English Channel.
Both Wightlink and Gosport Ferry said the firm’s local base was ideal.
John Burrows, operations director at Wightlink, added: ‘The facility is ideal and the experience in-house within Burgess Marine is second to none.’
Capt Keith Edwards, of Gosport Ferry, said: ‘The location really is ideal, it couldn’t be bettered.
‘Longer term it’s a win-win situation and really positive news for the local economy here in Hampshire.’