Steamship returning to Falmouth

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A&P Falmouth has won a major contract with the historic steamship SS Shieldhall, based in Southampton.

The contract highlights the company’s long-term partnering relationship with the SS Shieldhall – the largest steamship of her type in Europe – and the importance of repeat business to A&P.

The contract will see A&P Falmouth undertaking major hull repair and modification work in dry dock, extending the life of the steamship for another 25 years. Work will take place in April and is being funded by a £1.4 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

The SS Shieldhall
The SS Shieldhall

Graham Mackenzie, marketing director of Solent Steam Packet, said: “It was a highly competitive contract because we had to comply with HLF’s procurement guidelines and get a minimum of three quotes.

“We chose A&P Falmouth because it not only represented the best value for money, but because it put together a very detailed response and we felt it enabled us to go back to the yard we have worked with for the past ten years, where we have built up a rapport with the management and the workers on the coal face.”

A heritage cargo-passenger ship, included in the National Historic Fleet, Shieldhall was built and launched on the Clyde in 1955, to a classic pre-WW2 design.

She had a long and successful first career with Glasgow Corporation – year round, carrying treated sludge out to sea and, in the summer, taking passengers on pleasure trips. Bought in 1977 by Southern Water she was finally withdrawn from commercial service in 1985 – but saved and purchased for £20k in 1988 by the charity that still operates her now.

Peter Child, managing director of A&P Falmouth, said: “This is a significant contract for us and we are delighted to working with Shieldhall once again. She has strong ties with Falmouth and we are pleased to celebrate the continuing success of the partnership and Shieldhall’s confidence in A&P Falmouth to carry out the work.”