Gondán to Build Hybrid Buoy Tender for Scotland
The Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB), the General Lighthouse Authority for Scotland and the Isle of Man announced the award of a £51.8 million contract to Spanish shipyard Astilleros Gondán S.A, for the build of a hybrid powered buoy tender vessel to support its vital safety service to mariners.
The tender includes a commitment to place over £2 million of contracts with U.K. suppliers with a requirement for any contract over £25,000 to be advertised in the U.K. As part of the deal Gondán will also create a special fully funded internship program for up to 15 U.K. based students who will benefit from a range of placements at the yard during the vessel’s construction.
Mike Bullock, NLB’s Chief Executive, said, “This is a really exciting time for us, and we are delighted we can now take forward our ambitious plans for the build of a hybrid powered aid to navigation tender to replace NLV Pole Star, which after 23 years of service is rapidly approaching the end of her economic life. The new vessel, which will take the name Pole Star, will be a step change from what has gone before using new technology to minimize the impact on the environment and will bring additional capability to help deal with the effects of Climate Change. This will ensure that we can continue to protect mariners and our precious marine environment in Scottish and Manx waters into the 2050s.”
Alvaro Platero, CEO and owner of GONDAN, said, “We are thrilled to have been awarded this contract by the Northern Lighthouse Board, and we are honored to have been chosen after a very thorough tender process. Our team worked tirelessly to submit a competitive bid, and we are grateful to NLB for recognizing our efforts. We take great pride in our reputation as a shipyard specialized in the delivery of tailored vessels that perform even on the most demanding conditions and we are committed to upholding that reputation with the construction of this modern and environmentally friendly vessel. We would like to thank NLB for entrusting us with this project, and we look forward to working with them to bring their vision to life.”
Maritime Minister Baroness Vere said, “This new vessel will deliver vital stores and supplies to lighthouses along the coastline and help to carry out important buoy work, providing a crucial service to the wider maritime sector and upholding world-class levels of safety in our waters.
“As we continue working to deliver Maritime 2050 and decarbonize, it’s great to see the new Pole Star will also be much greener than its predecessor and make use of innovative technology to reduce emissions, while supporting jobs and skills in the U.K.”
NLB operates two ships NLV Pharos and NLV Pole Star. The ships carry out buoy work, deliver stores and supplies to lighthouses and inspect navigation aids on oil and gas rigs in the Scottish sector. The new vessel which will follow a tradition started in 1892 by being the fifth NLB vessel to bear the name Polar Star, will be constructed to a detailed specification which ensures improved sea keeping, better and safer buoy servicing operations, towing and firefighting capability. There will also be improved crew accommodation and substantial environmental improvements over its predecessor.
The vessel will enter service in June 2025 and will meet the environmental targets set out in the U.K. Government Clean Maritime Plan, while future proofing NLB’s ability to deliver its vital safety services over the next 25 years.