The proposal aims to modernise major military ports across the UK by introducing various new support ships.
The deal will see 36 new harbour support vessels, including tug boats, being ordered to replace the ageing fleets currently in service.
The contract under tender – which is part of the government’s national shipbuilding strategy – has been split into two parts; the first will be to support ‘in-port marine services’ with the second set to focus on replacing older vessels with newer ones.
According to the tender, the project is for the ‘operation and maintenance of 82 UK Ministry of Defence-owned vessels used for the provision of the services, under a Government Owned Contractor Operated agreement, ensuring availability of services on a 24/7/365 basis.’
Included under the deal’s ‘services’ umbrella would be passenger transportation, storage of munitions, waste management and military training.
The new vessels will help to modernise dockyard facilities at naval bases, with the disposal of redundant support craft being overseen by the Defence Equipment Sales Authority.
The document outlining the plans said: ‘In December 2022, the Royal Navy will take ownership of a fleet of vessels which currently provide In-Port towage, transportation of passengers, and harbour movements of commodities such as stores, ammunition, waste, fuel and other liquids for the UK Naval Bases in Devonport, Faslane and Portsmouth.
‘An estimated 37 vessels from the current fleet will require replacing from 2025 to ensure these critical services continue to be provided safely and effectively to the Royal Navy.
‘The vessels will be government-owned but contractor-operated.
‘Subject to approved funding, the replacement vessels will be purchased on behalf of the MoD, with it being the responsibility of the contractor to identify the shipyard(s) that best meet the requirement in respect of design, delivery time, and value for money.’