Friday, 15 February 2008

Good and bad shipyard news

Before blogging on some good and bad news regarding Westcountry shipyards I just want to recap on a little history to put the story into context. In 2004 the then owner of Devonport Dockyard, DML, bought the highly regarded facility at Appledore which has always had a good reputation in the shipbuilding industry. Fast forward to July last year and the takeover of the Devonport yard by Babcock Marine who decided to retain Appledore as part of their setup.

Now Babcock also own Rosyth in Scotland and have the contract to build the UK's two next generation aircraft carriers. Here's the good news: the Appledore yard will help build the hull sections of these two ships thus securing the employment of the 160 strong workforce for something like the next five years. This is a great story for North Devon which needs to retain these sorts of highly skilled people.

Not such good news for Devonport meanwhile where there are to be 600 redundancies. On the plus side there were some expectations I understand that the job loss would be greater than this so it could have been worse.

Like so much of industry today shipbuilding is a cut'throat business. Once there were 'jobs for life' but not these days I have to say.

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