British boat builder signs string of regional supply chain contracts and reinforces long-term commitment to the development of the UK offshore energy markets

Thursday 27th March 2014, Cowes, Great Yarmouth – Despite recent project development delays and regulatory uncertainty, the UK wind energy market continues to offer a significant opportunity to develop a world class manufacturing and supply chain base that can deliver competitive industry content in the future.

However, with over 30,000 offshore wind energy jobs due to be created as a direct result of this over the next eight years alone, the expansion and success of the market is as much driven by the short-term success of Tier One contractors, as it is by the long-term confidence of manufacturers and contractors working with them.

That is according to Alicat and South Boats IOW, the UK's foremost manufacturer of class-leading Wind Farm Service Vessels (WFSV) that has recently signed a string of specialist supply chain service agreements that underpin core skills and incorporate associated marine electrical, servicing and maintenance contract work.

As part of these specialist supply chain agreements, Alicat and South Boats IOW will undertake a series of bespoke electrical design, installation and refitting briefs throughout 2014. These commercially sensitive projects provide critical long term support to key participants currently operating in the UK offshore energy markets.

"Nobody doubts that with over 40 projects currently in play and with an estimated investment value of upwards of £80 billion, the UK manufacturing market has a clear and tangible opportunity to establish a strong domestic supply chain that will present real international export market potential in the future," said Steve Thacker, Director, Alicat & South Boats IOW.

"Nevertheless, if we don't recognise the importance of getting the basics right first – and in doing so, understand the value of creating a stable and reliable domestic manufacturing base – we risk not only damaging future overseas export potential but also undermining much of the work already achieved by specialist UK contractors, to date.

Thacker added, "If the UK is to truly deliver high value manufacturing IP – that in the case of our industry will help meet the need for an estimated 200 to 300 operations and maintenance vessels by 2030 – it's imperative that we begin to communicate the true scale and nature of future demand and perhaps most important, how we can all begin to benefit."

In recent months, Alicat & South Boats IOW has received a string of workboat orders from leading operators within the market.

These orders include a £5.5m, two-workboat deal with Lowestoft operator Iceni Marine Services and a £10m, three-workboat agreement from Seacat Services. Both orders will be supported and delivered by a team of 250 operating out of the two dedicated yards, located in Great Yarmouth and in Cowes. In addition, the companies are on the verge of announcing further orders for 2015 and 2016 deliveries.

Together, the two yards maintain the industry-leading position of British boat builders and operators as the offshore wind energy market grows.

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