Harland and Wolff Forges French Links

Sunday 11 May 2008

Harland and Wolff Heavy Industries hosted a visit by the Consul of France to Northern Ireland, Mme Regine McCullough and a study group from the ship-building city of Brest in Brittany this week.

The visit follows Harland and Wolff's recently announced joint venture with French V Group, the world’s largest ship management company and environmental agency Golder Associates to provide controlled and complete vessel recycling and recovery services.

The Belfast ship-building firm is also increasing its workload in the renewable energy sector as well as other advanced engineering projects.

Beatrice Abiven, from the leading school of engineering in Brittany, CFA de l’Industrie de Bretagne, says the group of thirty students, engineers and yacht builders were keen to understand the progress being made by Harland and Wolff in vessel recycling.

“The work Harland and Wolff is engaged in shows the way forward for European shipyards and we are particularly impressed by the vessel recycling work,” says Ms Abiven.

It is rare to see a ship yard still undertaking ship-building work and design engineering while taking on new projects such as recycling, renewable energy and marine engineering,” she says.

Harland and Wolff project manager, Alan Haley, says Harland and Wolff’s diversification strategy is showing very positive results.

“The company embarked on a major diversification strategy five years ago and now we have opened up new markets for our services and products,” says Mr Haley. “We export everything we make so we welcome international visits which help let the world know the kind of work we undertake.”

The yard is currently completing the deconstruction of the MSC Napoli container ship which went aground off the coast of Devon in January 2007. The 11,000 tonnes of steel are being recycled following controlled decontamination of the hull shortly after it arrived at Harland and Wolff’s building dock last autumn.

French Consul Mme Regine McCullough says joint ventures such as Harland and Wolff’s are not just good for business but good for international relations.

“The joint venture between a Northern Ireland firm and a French company is to be welcomed not least because both V Group and Harland and Wolff as well as their third partner Golder Associates are recognised globally as experts in their fields,” says Ms McCullough.

The dock will be cleared immediately on completion of the project to make way for the assembly of a 60-turbine wind farm destined for the west coast of Scotland.

Media contacts:
David McVeigh, Harland and Wolff Heavy Industries, tel: 0044 2890 458456
Joris Minne, JPR, tel: 0044 2890 760066 or joris.minne@jprni.com:
l-r: Mme Regine McCullough, French Consul to Northern Ireland, Alan Haley, Project manager at Harland and Wolff Heavy Industries, and Beatrice Abiven from CFA de l’Industrie in Brest, France.