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A successful refit worth pounds 1m to yard; 47,000-tonne tanker ready to sail out.

Byline: George Collins

THE 47,000-tonne BP oil tanker British Serenity will sail out of the River Tyne over this weekend after a 26-day refit maintenance order worth in excess of pounds 1m to a North East shipyard.

A&P Tyne beat off stiff competition from foreign rivals to bring the prized BP contract to the region.

The oil multi-national has recently used A&P Group yards on the Tyne and the Tees for work on much smaller vessels but the Serenity - one of 12 vessels in BP's Virtue Class fleet - was on a different scale. BP said the Tyneside yard won the contract as it had proved it could compete against other European yards "on safety, quality, time and cost".

A&P Tyne managing director Stewart Boak commented "A&P Group have been working hard over the last six months to secure work from BP and convince them we can deliver our promises."

He believes BP's confidence was gained by recent refits to the vessels Border Heather on the Tyne and to the Border Thistle on the Tees and, in particular, by a team of A&P Tyne steelworkers who carried out repairs on the BP shuttle tanker Loch Rannoch in atrocious conditions at Sullom Voe on the Shetland Islands.

BP Shipping spokesman Adam Smith said: "British Serenity is the first of our deep sea fleet to come into the Tyne for over 12 years.

"We dry dock our deep sea fleet in the most convenient and cost effective locations around the world. We chose to bring the British Serenity to a UK yard because the vessel was trading in North West Europe and A&P Tyne was able to compete against other European shipyards on safety, quality, time and cost."

The giant carrier - which is over 183 metres long and 32 metres wide - arrived at the Hebburn yard for a refit and repair programme at the end of April.

The project - which included the blasting and painting of the hull, repairs to the bunker tank, pipe renewals and an overhaul of the main engine and the ship's side valves - had a team of more than 200 people working on it at its peak.

Its massive hull took 6,100 litres of paint to complete.

Mr Boak said: "We were delighted to be awarded this prestigious contract with BP Shipping.

"We've delivered a first-class project on time and to budget - a testament to our management team and our skilled workforce."

The Serenity, a Korean-built vessel with a top-speed of 15 knots, sailed out of the Tyne with its crew of 25 to undergo sea trials.

Mr Smith said the carrier would load up in a North European port after its sea trials.

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FINISHING TOUCHES Workers are dwarfed by the giant BP vessel British Serenity
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 29, 2010
Words:467
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