Workers at a resurgent Appledore Shipyard in Devon are breathing a sigh of relief as Ireland confirms the order of an additional and unexpected new naval offshore patrol vessel for its navy.
The Irish Independent reported this week that the Irish Government had agreed to purchase an additional ship from Babcock International to be built at their Appledore facility.
The vessel is scheduled for delivery in two years and will be the of the same class as three others built by the English shipyard for Ireland.
Ireland's Naval Service currently has eight ships, but one of them, the LE AISLING is reaching the end of its time and faces decommissioning in a few days.
The three OPVs so far built by Appledore are: LE James Joyce, LE Samuel Beckett, and LE William Butler Yeats. The latter vessel is due for sea trials next month and replaces AISLING.
LE Samuel Beckett was delivered in April 2014, and the LE James Joyce followed last year in July.
The order from Ireland has revitalised the shipyard in Devon which is a very similar shipyard to the formerly known Ferguson Shipyard on the Clyde and now reborn as Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd. Both yards were once part of the same group (state owned, 1980s) and have more or less followed the same patterns of fortunes with both yards now resurgent, on the backs of their recent respective new orders.
Fergusons are currently building two large ferries for Caledonian MacBrayne and the yard is being thoroughly upgraded and enlarged.