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Ships are brought back to life.

Byline: Nell Stone

THE chief of the Bangladesh Navy came to a Tyneside shipyard yesterday to accept the handover of two offshore patrol vessels.

Vice Admiral Zahir Uddin Ahmed was the chief guest at a ceremony at A&P Tyne to mark the successful completion of the multi-million pound order at the Hebburn yard.

A&P Tyne beat off fierce competition to win the "prestigious contract" to refit the former Royal Navy vessels HMS Leeds Castle and HMS Dumbarton Castle for the Bangladesh Navy. High-ranking officers from the Bangladesh Navy and the Royal Navy were at the event organised by A&P for the formal handover of the ships, now renamed the BNS Dhaleshwari and BNS Bijoy.

Vice Admiral Ahmed thanked A&P for their hard work restoring the ships and said the Bangladesh Navy hoped to work with the yard again.

He said: "I am happy to know A&P has taken on the challenge with ingenuity and sound engineering skill to bring the ships back to life.

"I must thank A&P management and staff for their hard work and approach to make this project a success.

I hope this excellent relationship will continue to prosper.

"I am sure the relationship between A&P and the Bangladesh Navy will be strengthened in the days ahead." Vice Admiral Ahmed also thanked the British Government, Ministry of Defence and the Bangladesh community in South Tyneside and Newcastle for their hospitality while his officers had been in the region.

The two ships underwent a complete overhaul of the main engines, gearboxes, shafts and motors and the installation of new diesel generators and deck cranes while in dock.

The ships will now travel 11,000 miles back to Bangladesh where they will be put into service.

Christopher Bell, group managing director for A&P, told the Vice Admiral: "If you are seeking additional assets we are here to help. The Bangladesh Navy will have two excellent additions to the fleet."

A&P Tyne managing director Stewart Boak said the four-month project had been "demanding and complex".

Captain Khaled Iqbal, was the project officer and will command BNS Dhaleshwari.

He said: "The ships gave an excellent service in the Royal Navy for two decades. With renewed life they will give service in the Bangladesh Navy. I would like to thank all the staff and workers for their hard work to make the ships operational and sea worthy." The refit was a vital order for A&P Tyne, securing employment for up to 100 staff and sub-contractors for three months.


READY TO GO Crew from the Bangladesh Navy board the vessels
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 25, 2010
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