The Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB), the General Lighthouse Authority for Scotland and the Isle of Man announced today (12 December 2022), the Award of a £51.8 million contract to Spanish shipyard Astilleros Gondán S.A, for the build of a state-of-the-art hybrid powered ship to support its vital safety service to mariners.
Gondán is a well-established and highly respected family business with a track record of delivering quality vessels. The tender includes a commitment to place over £2 million of contracts with UK suppliers with a requirement for any contract over £25k to be advertised in the UK. As part of the deal Gondán will also create a special fully funded internship programme for up to 15 UK based students who will benefit from a range of placements at the yard during the vessel’s construction.
Mike Bullock, NLB’s Chief Executive said:
“This is a really exciting time for us, and we are delighted we can now take forward our ambitious plans for the build of a hybrid powered aid to navigation tender to replace NLV POLE STAR, which after 23 years of service is rapidly approaching the end of her economic life. The new vessel, which will take the name POLE STAR, will be a step change from what has gone before using new technology to minimise the impact on the environment and will bring additional capability to help deal with the effects of Climate Change. This will ensure that we can continue to protect mariners and our precious marine environment in Scottish and Manx waters into the 2050s.”
Alvaro Platero, CEO and Owner of GONDAN said:
“We are thrilled to have been awarded this contract by the Northern Lighthouse Board, and we are honoured to have been chosen after a very thorough tender process. Our team worked tirelessly to submit a competitive bid, and we are grateful to NLB for recognizing our efforts. We take great pride in our reputation as a shipyard specialized in the delivery of tailored vessels that perform even on the most demanding conditions and we are committed to upholding that reputation with the construction of this modern and environmentally friendly vessel. We would like to thank NLB for entrusting us with this project, and we look forward to working with them to bring their vision to life.”
Maritime Minister Baroness Vere said:
“This new vessel will deliver vital stores and supplies to lighthouses along the coastline and help to carry out important buoy work, providing a crucial service to the wider maritime sector and upholding world-class levels of safety in our waters.
“As we continue working to deliver Maritime 2050 and decarbonise, it’s great to see the new POLE STAR will also be much greener than its predecessor and make use of innovative technology to reduce emissions, while supporting jobs and skills in the UK.”
NLB operates two ships NLV PHAROS and NLV POLE STAR. The ships carry out buoy work, deliver stores and supplies to lighthouses and inspect navigation aids on oil and gas rigs in the Scottish sector. The new vessel which will follow a tradition started in 1892 by being the fifth NLB vessel to bear the name POLE STAR, will be constructed to a detailed specification which ensures improved sea keeping, better and safer buoy servicing operations, towing and firefighting capability. There will also be improved crew accommodation and substantial environmental improvements over its predecessor.
The vessel will enter service in June 2025 and will meet the ambitious environmental targets set out in the UK Government Clean Maritime Plan, whilst future proofing NLB’s ability to deliver its vital safety services over the next 25 years.