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Business goes full steam ahead with Agency support

Monday, 8 September 2008

A specialist boating company in North East England has notched up a world-first with its latest development.

Alnmaritec has made a work boat aimed at the offshore oil and gas industry – with the added bonus of acting as a fast-rescue vessel.

The company, which is based in Alnwick in Northumberland and specialises in the design and fabrication of workboats for commercial use, realised there was a gap in the market for the vessel after a customer approached bosses to ask whether it was possible for design one.

To support the hybrid prototype, Alnmaritec was awarded a £51,976 Research and Development grant from regional development agency One NorthEast on top of almost £100,000 of capital investment.

Chris Millman, managing director, said: “There’s always been a separation between working boats and rescue boats, which meant offshore vessels had to carry both on board – now we have the answer to both sets of requirements in one boat.

“When we were asked whether it would be possible to design such a vessel, we decided to look at it seriously. We approached a specialist in fast rescue boat design, Camarc Limited in Scotland, to work with us to complement our own experience with work boat design and together we designed the new concept boat. We have been testing it over the last few weeks, and it is now ready to launch.

“We’re really excited about its potential. We’ve done a lot of market research for it and have come up with a boat which fits both the working and rescue requirements. If the prototype proves successful, we’ll then look to build more.”

Alnmaritec, which employs 38 people and has plans to take on more staff if additional boats are needed, develops customised boat designs, including workboats for the oil and gas industry, crew ferries, fire fighting crafts and patrol boats.

Its customers include a number of major oil companies, including Exon Mobil and BP.

Gary Roe, Business Finance Specialist Advisor at One NorthEast, said: “Alnmaritec is a leader in its field and has grown year on year. With its roots firmly in the region, we were delighted to be able to support them with an R&D grant.

“This latest development has enormous potential and I’m certain the demand for it will be enormous. It’s a world first which backs up the strength and expertise of companies within this region, and will help put the North East firmly on the national and international map.”