Contract awarded to boatbuilders to maintain vessels

HAPPY Meercat Workboats operations director James Lewis at the Portchester boatyard
HAPPY Meercat Workboats operations director James Lewis at the Portchester boatyard
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A BOATBUILDER has won an order to provide a global defence, aerospace and security company with a dive support vessel to help maintain warships and jetties.

Portchester-based Meercat Workboats has started work on the bespoke craft after being awarded the contract by BAE Systems.

Operations director James Lewis said: ‘The design brief called for a manoeuvrable vessel, with a wheel-house, messroom, designated dive room and a crane.

‘It will primarily support BAE Systems’ diving teams for duties connected with Royal Navy vessels and port installations in the naval dockyard, including maintenance support to waterfront jetties, the Type 45 destroyers and the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers when they arrive in Portsmouth in 2017.’

The order is one of the most significant in the company’s recent times as it continues to grow as a leading supplier of workboats, especially in the dive, ports, harbours and aquaculture markets.

Mr Lewis added: ‘We are pleased to be working with such a prominent and well-respected company as BAE Systems.’

The workboat is being fitted with a full HP dive system, and video capabilities for divers to use in inspections, repair and maintenance.

A separate JCB power pack runs the ship’s hydraulics and underwater hydraulic tools.

Derren Chamberlain, BAE Systems maritime services supply chain director, said: ‘As a company, we are committed to working with local companies, many of which are small or medium enterprises.

‘This order with Meercat is a welcome demonstration of how we can utilise first-class services in the Portsmouth area and also support the marine-related local economy.’

The dive support vessel is the second workboat to be built by Meercat after the company was acquired by Britain’s largest independent ship repairer Burgess Marine last September and its 23rd since the company’s launch in 2006.