Around 800 jobs in the UK maritime sector have been safeguarded after the MOD extended five maintenance contracts worth a total of £349m.
The contracts cover the long-term maintenance of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Flotilla of naval support ships. They have been awarded to five British companies and will secure a further five years of maintenance support for the 13-strong RFA Flotilla.
Made up of fuel tankers, stores ships, a medical facility and landing ships, the RFA provides essential support such as food, fuel, munitions and other vital supplies to the Royal Navy at sea.
The companies involved are:
Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders Ltd, based in Birkenhead
A&P Group Ltd (ship repair facility), based in Falmouth
Lloyd's Register, based in Bristol
Trimline Ltd, based in Southampton
Hempel UK Ltd, based in Cwmbran.
The Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne, said: "These Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships are crucial to the work of the Royal Navy and without them it simply could not operate. These substantial contracts will not only safeguard hundreds of UK jobs but will ensure that these ships can continue in their roles for years to come."
Head of Commercially Supported Shipping for Defence, Equipment and Support, Commodore (RFA) David Preston said: "These contracts represent the best value for money for Defence and each of the companies has a proven track record in supporting the Royal Fleet Auxiliary on a worldwide basis. This ability to support the Royal Navy wherever they are deployed is critical to UK Defence."
RFA personnel are uniformed civil servants employed under the UK Merchant Shipping Act. They are structurally aligned with the Royal Navy and have a high level of specialist military training.