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  • Dockyard Cammell Laird

    Cammell Laird (Gibraltar) Limited has to-day announced a change of ultimate ownership and a substantial new investment programme, which will see the Gibraltar Yard further diversify into, and become, a major centre for the repair, refit and maintenance of very high value Superyachts.

    The yard will retain its present commercial shipping operations, will employ more people, and make substantial investments in state-of-the-art, environmentally approved facilities.

    This investment will provide a global leader in Superyachts refit and repair facilities, operating to the highest environmental standards and creating a world class workforce of artisans and engineers.

    1. The new business activity.

    A Superyacht is an ocean going yacht of 30 metres or more length with a full time crew. As at January 2004 there were 2400 such yachts and this number doubles every 10 years, growing at an estimated 6% a year. The global market in the refit, repair and maintenance of these boats is worth in excess of $652 million per annum. The average major refit costs $3 million per boat and takes place every 4 or 5 years. 60% of the world fleet of Superyachts is based in the Mediterranean. This project aims to capture a slice of this highly specialised business for Gibraltar yard, converting the Gibraltar yard into one of the world’s leading facilities for such work.

    2. The workforce.

    Existing jobs are secure, and additional full time skilled labour will be recruited and trained. This will see the size of the workforce rise by about 75 people in the next five years. Retraining will be provided for the Superyacht market. The Company will set up a new enhanced apprenticeship scheme for the required craft skills, which include engineering, IT, metal working, specialist painting, joinery and cabinet making etc.

    3. Management

    The existing senior management will remain in the yard and will be supplemented by additional management resources experienced in the Superyacht refit business.

    4. The Investment

    The proposed capital investment which amounts to about £20 million over the next 5 years, includes fully enclosing two of the dry docks, which will address the particle and noise pollution problems presently affecting the south district from painting, blasting and other operations in the dry docks. This investment also includes other new buildings and workshops, modernising plant and equipment, establishing training school workshops and other work. The first structure enclosing the dry dock is expected to be in place during 2008.

    The Minister for Trade and Industry Joe Holliday said:

    “This is excellent news for the yard, its workforce and the economy as a whole. It guarantees the ongoing future viability of the yard, secures existing jobs and will provide additional jobs as well. The apprenticeship and training commitment will provide the local people with the opportunity to acquire valuable skills.”

    Ron Gibbs, the new Executive Chairman of Cammell Laird (Gibraltar) Limited said:

    “The Shipyard is uniquely placed to capitalise on the fast growing Superyacht business with employment, training and environmental benefits for Gibraltar. I welcome this new challenge of directing the yard in its future development.”


    ESG reacts to a recent Govt and Cammel Laird joint statement on future expansion and investment in the dockyard. Both parties state that future plans for the docks will help mitigate the noise and air pollution currently being suffered by South District residents. The latter part of this statement is what ESG sees as a major step forward. Government and industry have up until now never acknowledged publicly that pollution in the South District existed in spite of complaints made by the ESG and many affected residents.

    Given the positive news breaking with this statement that by expanding dockyard facilities will mitigate existing noise and air pollution, the ESG would like to receive detailed information as to how this will be achieved. The group understands that open air ship bodywork repairs, spray painting and maintenance will continue. Given the size of the vessels and ferries regularly serviced here it is unlikely that all the docks will be enclosed.  The ESG asks how pollution produced from this activity can be mitigated by the proposed expansion. More details are required to understand fully the aims and objectives behind the project.

    What is clear, however, is that bodywork on super luxury yachts requires perfect finishing which could not be achieved in the open air given the amount of air pollution from ships and both power stations. It appears then that the expanded closed facility is aimed at servicing the luxury end of the market alone, leaving the open air bread and butter stuff to continue impacting heavily on the residents and environment with continued air and noise pollution.

    Further explanations should be given so that any plans for modernisation of the dockyard will receive support from a well informed community who could provide both parties with valuable feedback in the planning process.

    In the meantime the ESG still waits expectantly and patiently for the noise insulation to be installed at the OESCO plant as has been promised by Government for several years now.