Cammell Laird is preferred bidder for £200m deal to build Polar research vessel 

Birkenhead shipyard Cammell Laird is the preferred bidder to build a Polar research vessel for Britains Natural Environment Research Council.Carousel Polar Ship

The new, state of the art vessel will include a helicopter pad, robots and scientific laboratories that will allow up to 60 scientists and support staff to carry out work in the fields of climate change, marine biology and oceanography, among others.

Hopes are high that hundreds of Birkenhead shipyard jobs have been safeguarded for three more years after Cammell Laird was today named as preferred bidder for a £200m shipbuilding contract.

Cammell Laird has beaten tough competition from other shipyards around the world that were hoping to build a Polar research vessel for Britain’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

A spokesman for Cammell Laird told the Liverpool ECHO: “It’s absolutely fantastic. It’s the biggest single contract for a very long time.

“We’ll be building it from scratch.”

As well as hundreds of existing shipyard jobs being safeguarded jobs, 25 new apprenticeships will be created. Work is due to start in November and the vessel is expected to be completed in 2018.

In April 2014, the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills endorsed the business case for a new UK polar research vessel, and earmarked funding of more than £200m for the ship and associated enabling works at the UK’s Antarctic research stations.

The new vessel will be an ice-capable, multi-role polar research and logistics ship, designed to undertake leading edge multi-disciplinary science in both polar regions and to resupply the UK’s Antarctic stations. The ship will be able to carry helicopters.

The vessel will be operated for NERC by the British Antarctic Survey and enter service in Autumn 2019. It will fulfil the roles of the current UK polar vessels, RRS James Clark Ross and the RRS Ernest Shackleton.

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