Marine fit-out specialist MJM Group has signed a multi-million pound contract with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. brand Azamara Club Cruises, which will see one of the first major refits of a cruise liner in a UK dry dock. MJM Group will bring the cruise company’s newest ship, Azamara Pursuit, to Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, to manage and complete a full refit.

This represents the first time a cruise ship owner has awarded complete project management responsibility to an individual organisation.

“MJM Group is delighted to have been awarded the refit contract for Azamara Pursuit in what is a milestone opportunity for our business, and indeed for the marine industry in the UK,” said Gary Annett, chief executive officer of MJM Group. “The success of this project has the potential to be a game-changer for the UK maritime industry. By securing this multi-million pound contract we are putting Northern Ireland and the UK’s marine industry in a strong position to compete for future dry dock and refit works.”

According to Cruise Industry News, The cruise ship industry is thought to spend US$3 billion on dry docking and ship refurbishments each year with the majority of the work carried out in shipyards in the Caribbean, Europe, US, Canada and Asia.

“This contract gave us the opportunity we had been waiting for, which is to bring a major refit to a UK port for the first time in many years,” said Annett. “MJM Group has an exceptional track record of delivering world class cruise liner refits for the world’s top operators in docks across the world but we have always had the ambition to revive the rich shipbuilding industry history right here in Northern Ireland. We looked at many other facilities globally but we worked hard to put together a case for Northern Ireland. To secure the Azamara project we had to demonstrate that we had the ability to provide complete project management, outfitting, berthing and ship yard services. With Harland and Wolff on our doorstep and our experience in the industry we were able to do this. This truly is an historic day for this industry in Northern Ireland, for MJM Group and indeed our customers.”

“We are delighted that MJM Group is bringing this fantastic project to Belfast and to our shipyard,” said Jonathan Guest, director of business development and improvement at Harland and Wolff. “We have global brand recognition as an historic leader in the shipbuilding industry and we know that there is so much potential to revive this industry in Northern Ireland. We look forwad to supporting MJM Group on this project and hopefully other refits in the future.”

Azamara Pursuit will arrive in Belfast in April and will make her maiden voyage from Southampton in August 2018.

“This is the first time any company within Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd has used a UK shipyard for refit works of this scale,” said Larry Pimentel, president and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. “We are delighted to come to Northern Ireland with Azamara Pursuit.”