Multi-million pound deal for Wirral giants

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Ships at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead © Rept0n1x / Wikipedia / Creative Commons.

Merseyside engineering giant Cammell Laird has secured a multi-million pound ferry contract with the Northern Ireland Executive after it beat off competition from around Europe.

The Birkenhead marine engineering company is renowned for its specialities in both commercial and military ship repairs. It was awarded the £5.7 million project by the Department for Regional Development in the North.

The project will see the construction of a new car and passenger ferry which will replace the existing MV Strangford that currently operates between Strangford and Portaferry in County Down.

Rob McBurney, Commercial Director of Cammell Laird, said: “We are very pleased to have been awarded the contract for the construction of the new Strangford Ferry. The company has a long tradition of ship building and we look forward to working with the Department over the coming years.”

The new ferry will have capacity to transport a total of 28 cars, plus 260 passengers and is destined to share the ferry operation on a rotational basis with the MV Portaferry II.

Northern Ireland’s Transport Minister, Danny Kennedy, said: “The new ferry will replace the existing MV Strangford with a new modern ferry that has been designed specifically for this service.

“The new ferry will be built over the next 18 months and, when it comes into operation, will provide a more reliable and efficient ferry service.

“The Department for Regional Development currently operates a vehicle ferry service in Strangford Lough between Strangford and Portaferry with two vehicle ferries and a back-up passenger ferry.

“The new ferry will replace the existing MV Strangford which is over 40 years old and is approaching the end of its economically operational life.”

The ferry is due to be delivered by August 2016.

About James Busby, JMU Journalism