The first steel has been cut for the Northern Lighthouse Board’s (NLB) new hybrid powered buoy tender vessel, being built by Gondán Shipyard in Spain.
The tender – worth £51.8 million – includes a commitment to place over £2 million of contracts with UK suppliers with a requirement for any contract over £25k to be advertised in the UK. As part of the deal Gondán will also create a special fully funded internship programme for up to 15 UK based students who will benefit from a range of placements at the yard during the vessel’s construction.
The NLB has been responsible for the management of lights, buoys and beacons in Scotland and the Isle of Man since 1786, and the new vessel will help to modernise maritime safety in the region.
“The steel cutting ceremony is an important milestone as it marks the moment when production starts on the build of the new POLE STAR, following an intensive ten-month period of detailed design work,” said Phil Day, NLB director of operations.
“Using new technology to minimise the impact on the environment and with additional capability to help deal with the effects of climate change, the new ship will ensure we can continue to deliver our vital safety service in Scottish and Manx waters into the 2050s.”
The vessel is due to enter service in Summer 2025 and will be equipped with the latest technology and advanced navigation systems that will allow hydrographic surveying and wreck finding, as well as a range of energy-efficient technologies that will help reduce NLB’s carbon footprint.
The new vessel is destined to replace the NLB’s current NLV POLE STAR and will enable the NLB to deliver its safety services over the next 25 years.