A SENIOR official at a Hartlepool recycling company has told of his disappointment at missing out on the deal to dismantle the wrecked cruise liner Costa Concordia.
News that the contract has been awarded to an Italian company has been described as “disappointing but not entirely surprising” by Able UK group development director Neil Etherington.
He said that, while it was clear that its facility at Able Seaton Port had the expertise and the facilities to do the dismantling, it seemed likely that other factors had affected the decision to tow the ship, which struck rocks off the island of Giglio two and half years, to the Italian port of Genoa.
Mr Etherington added: “We were confident that, given our long track record for dismantling offshore structures and ships for major clients and to the highest environmental standards, we were strong contenders for the contract as far as the technical requirements were concerned.
“However, given that the decision on which bidder should be awarded the contract was subject to approval by the Italian Government, we were aware that there was a strong likelihood, and risk, that the preference would be for the work going to an Italian yard.
“If, as seems likely, that did influence the decision, it might perhaps provide food for thought for our own Government in future decisions on the disposal and dismantling of UK vessels.
“In recent years we have seen numerous instances where naval vessels have ended up being dismantled abroad when clearly high-quality facilities exist in the UK.”
Since 1985, Able has imported more than 60 structures for major companies and organisations including BP, l, Conoco, Hamilton Oil, Shell, Total/Fina/Elf and both the US and French Governments.
Earlier this year it was announced that it had been awarded the contract for the disposal at Able Seaton Port of four offshore structures from the Shell operated Brent Field, in the North Sea.
The facility has also become a major centre for the storage, maintenance and upgrading of offshore rigs.
It recently acquired the UK’s largest mobile harbour crane for activities associated with the handling of components for the offshore wind sector, as well as for upgrading, and maintaining offshore oil and gas drilling rigs.