A project to stimulate Ramsey’s marine engineering sector marked a significant milestone on Saturday when Mezeron made use of the shipyard slipway for the first time in 20 years.
A phased improvement plan totalling around £800,000 was carried out by the DoI, which is responsible for the site, after the town’s shipyard was identified as a vital element of the Harbours Strategy in 2018.
The investment was made in support of the decision by marine engineers and shipping agents Ramsey Shipping Services to relocate their operation to the yard, with the creation of eight jobs. Mezeron used the slipway over the weekend to carry out a special survey of their vessel Silver River.
Mezeron managing director Steve Walton said: ‘Our aim has always been to keep our business local, whenever possible. The team at Ramsey Shipping Services have been invaluable, even more so during the Covid pandemic, and this latest collaboration is the product of a solid working relationship. Both teams have been able to plan this dry dock to be as efficient as possible, which is essential for us to maintain services between the North West UK at Glasson Dock, and out of Belfast direct into Ramsey. I hope our relationship continues to get stronger from this.’
Work aimed at ensuring the operational future of the slipways and improvements to facilities has involved stabilisation of quay walls and improved lighting Main haul wires have been replaced on the slipway winches, rails have been repaired and carriages and bogies newly fabricated. Improvements to the power supplies for the slipways and commercial quayside make it easier to cater for vessels’ requirements during periods of maintenance, and fencing has been installed in the commercial area for public safety and security.
The slipways have continued to be used by a range of smaller vessels while the works have been underway. Looking ahead, it is hoped that the proven ability to accommodate Silver River and cater for larger projects, which would otherwise have been lost to the local economy, will lead to further interest in the Ramsey facilities.
Minister Tim Baker MHK said: ‘Getting the Silver River on the slipway for this important project is fantastic to see. It symbolises significant progress and provides assurance that the investment being made into our marine sector is paying off for the local economy. As a sea-faring nation, it is vital that we protect and encourage growth in this area and I look forward to more large vessels from on and off-island using the new and refurbished facilities.’
Ramsey Shipping Services managing director Steve George added: ‘Ramsey shipyard has been moving from strength-to-strength to the point where WS Mezeron has shown sufficient confidence in us by awarding us the contract to carry out the work to allow their vessel Silver River to undergo its five-yearly special survey. In order to secure this work, and to ensure continuity of employment for our staff, we wish to thank the Department of Infrastructure for investing in Ramsey.’