Energy sector sparks shipbuilding revival

THE revival of shipbuilding on the Humber will be given fresh momentum today with the launch of a new business.

Dunston Ship Repairs is launching a shipbuilding business with orders for three workboats from Rix Shipping.

The new business, Dunston (Ship Builders), will lease the Hepsworths yard, in Paull, from J.R. Rix and Sons.

It is a return to the industry for Dunston which abandoned its shipbuilding operation in 1994 to focus on repairs at William Wright Dock.

Richard Bourne, joint owner and managing director of Dunston Ship Repairs, said: “I’m extremely excited to be bringing the name of Dunston Ship Builders back to its rightful position on the Humber. Establishing the new company will secure jobs in the region and as the offshore wind farms are developed will generate a lot of investment and create employment.

“The new business dovetails well with our existing operation as we will have unrivalled facilities not only to be able to build new ships, but to service, maintain and repair them as well, so the renewables industry is proving to be a big opportunity for us.”

Today’s launch comes just weeks after MMS Ship Repair announced it would be building a new fleet of boats on the Humber to be used as shuttles to offshore wind farm sites.

The Rix order will see Dunston build three boats under licence from Great Yarmouth-based Alicat Workboats also to be used by the renewable energy industry.

Rix Shipping director James Doyle said: “It‘s fantastic to know that our order is sparking a revival in shipbuilding on the Humber. The fact is demand is being driven by the renewables sector so what we are seeing is the region’s newest industry offering a lifeline to one of its oldest.

“It is opportunities like this that are going to be created as the Humber becomes a hub for the UK’s renewable energy sector and with the right vision and planning, such as is the case with Rix and Dunston, many local companies will be able to benefit.”