New RFAs to be built in Europe?

fred henderson
15th August 2007, 20:43
The UK MoDís new Director General Surface Ships, Dr Andrew Tyler, has cancelled the procurement plans for a new fleet of RFAs that were to be built as a joint MoD/UK industry alliance. The initial part of the £2.5 billion Maritime Afloat Reach and Support (MARS) programme covers six fleet tankers to be delivered during the period 2011 Ė 16. It now looks as though these will be bought through a conventional tender, involving competition from shipyards throughout the EEC.

The argument is that with the closure of Swan Hunter and with the remaining UK surface shipyards being fully committed to the Type 45 and aircraft carrier programmes, we no longer have capacity to build the fleet tankers. Wonderful! Hold back the order until Swan Hunter is closed, then use lack of capacity to get cheaper ships from Europe.

These tankers should have been built years ago to replace the present single-hulled RFAs, which would be banned from European waters if they were operated by a commercial company. If they had been ordered in time, the essential skilled workforce could have been retained at Harland & Wolff and Swan Hunter and the fiasco of the Wallsend built Bay Class avoided.

The remaining ships in the MARS programme are two fleet solid support ships (for delivery in 2017 and 2019) and three joint sea-based logistic vessels (for delivery in 2018, 2020 and 2021). It is felt that these ships can be used to fill the gap in the build programme in the remaining UK surface warship yards until the Type 23 replacement programme starts. It is great that the government has realised that shipyards cannot retain their core workforce without continuity of work. It seems however, that the new carriers are going to be in service for several years before their support ships are delivered.

Fred(Thumb)

marinero
15th August 2007, 21:13
Hi Fred.
Does anything this administration put it's hand to make sense.
Regards

Tmac1720
15th August 2007, 21:25
Not really surprising is it Fred, if it wasn't so pathetic it would be funny(Cloud) all the sadder when you remember that our shipbuilding tradition was once the finest in the world(Sad) (Sad)

Richie2012
16th August 2007, 22:47
I agree it is bad that these ships cant be built in the UK, But can you name a shipping company that has a most or a whole fleet of British built or flag ships.
Swan Hunter had it self to blame about what happened with the bay class, but its the management not the poor workers who are the real ones who get screwed.
Shipyards can not survive in uk unless they do MOD work, labour is cheaper in every other country and that is the bottom line to it.
People may disagree or agree but i would like to know your views
Richie

boulton
22nd October 2007, 13:11
I agree it is bad that these ships cant be built in the UK, But can you name a shipping company that has a most or a whole fleet of British built or flag ships.
Swan Hunter had it self to blame about what happened with the bay class, but its the management not the poor workers who are the real ones who get screwed.
Shipyards can not survive in uk unless they do MOD work, labour is cheaper in every other country and that is the bottom line to it.
People may disagree or agree but i would like to know your views
Richie

Can I please nail my colours to your mast Richie2012 ??

johnalderman
22nd October 2007, 13:20
The real Swan Hunters was closed in 1993 and went into receivership in 1994 it was reopened by Jaap Kroese in 1995 when he acquired the yard at a knock down price, he kept the Swans name as it was World renowned but sadly he dragged the name through the mud. When Lyme Bay was removed from the yard, the government went to great lengths to say that the workforce were in no way to blame, the blame was laid squarely with management, or lack of it.

Thamesphil
22nd October 2007, 14:30
Richie has it in one. The bottom line is that U.K. shipyards could not compete with foreign counterparts and went out of business as soon as there was a lull in World shipbuilding activity. The French and Italians got bailed out and just about stuck in there with specialist ships in a small number of facilities and are largely insulated from general shipbuilding price trends due to the specialist nature of their work (mainly cruise ships). But, believe me, they will also go under when their limited, core commercial and government work dries up. Germany has rallied a little being largely supported by domestic owners building containerships who are more interested in early deliveries than cheaper prices. Again though, the bubble will burst sooner of later in what is after all a cyclical business.

Current shipbuilding prices are at record levels in some segments, so the price differentials between European and Asian yards are no as great as they have been. Moreover, shipbuilding capacity is tight and some Northern European yards are actually able to secure business on the basis of early delivery dates, with their Asian counterparts full up until 2011-2012. It's just a pity that U.K. yards didin't have the nerve or necessary support to see them through the last shipbuilding down turn. Otherwise, we may now actually be seeing some of those companies taking orders and building ships.

Phil

tacho
25th October 2007, 13:02
We should build these ships in the UK. Doing so will help preserve a rapidly diminishing skills base. They may cost more but the money would be spent here employing British workers.

Unfortunately our politicians who all seem to be on the "other side" are unlikely to insist that these vessels are UK built.