UK shipbuilder Vosper Thornycroft has won a contract worth approximately £60 million from the Royal Navy to build three new offshore vessels.
Construction of the craft, which will replace five Island Class vessels, is expected to safeguard around 450 jobs at Vosper Thornycroft’s Southampton shipyard.
Defence Procurement Minister Baroness Symons announced the deal when she visited the shipyard on March 16, 2001.
‘These new ships will be bigger and better than the Island Class they replace, and will be available for patrol duty for almost twice as many days a year,’ said Baroness Symons. ‘This means three ships can carry out the same tasks as the five they will replace.’
The design has been prepared specifically for the Royal Navy’s requirement but will have export prospects in the growing Economic Exclusion Zone market.
‘The crew will have improved accommodation and there will be fewer of them, allowing us to save on Royal Navy manpower, which will help us deliver a saving of about £10 million on the costs of operating and supporting the Island Class over the next few years,’ added Baroness Symons.
The Ministry of Defence intends to place a contract for the lease of the ships for a five-year period in April. The first of the new class is expected in service in September 2002, with other ships following at six-monthly intervals.