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GMB are claiming thatvBabcock turned down £600million from the Government to keep the yard open. Which is the first I have heard of anything like in this regard, and strikes me as a bit off because of the size of the offer considering the size of the yard.
Shame. Their OPVs for the Irish are very good and with a bit of government effort could have produced more for export. I'd far rather they'd spent £300m buying some of those for the RN than buying Amazonas class from BAE and calling them batch 2 OPV. Politics, politics.
F*** **** **** ****! My local yard, less than twenty five miles from me. Not so long ago (well alright it was last year) a mate employed by Babcock was telling me that Appledore was suited to building OPVs.
In the past it was busy building commercial vessels. WTF went wrong?
It's not difficult to work out - and don't forget, it already closed properly once about 15 years ago, before Babcocks decided to take a punt.
Put simply, it's difficult to compete for the sort of commercial ships it built (coaster, PSVs, DSV etc) when the bottom fell out of the offshore market. It has to compete with much larger outfits like Damen that can spread their overheads across many contracts, as well as Spanish, Croatian and Romanian yards, where wage levels and hence labour costs are lower. When it's run by a UK defence prime, that tends to add another layer of process and bureaucracy (however well-intentioned) and hence cost.
It won the Paddy patrol boats because it built the previous lot and to be fair to Babcocks, they did a lot of BD/lobbying for them - as well as the yard building them for a good price. However, selling OPV to the wider world market is always hard, because either these countries want to develop their own industry (ie build them) or will go for cheaper suppliers nearer them.
The yard is simply too small and has challenges in its configuration to compete across a wider product range. It's sad, but there you go.
There is still hope for Appledore - talk of Isles of Scilly (I think) ferry contracts and pressure by unions, MPs, and peers. I can certainly remember the days when you would read the local papers and learn of an x thousand tonne freighter/chemical tanker/whatever being built, usually for an overseas customer.
That was in the 90s/00s.
I am going to start a new thread on the Maritime 2050 strategy.