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Representatives of UK government and CLIA visit Bolette in dry dock

Bolette at A&P Falmouth, which it is due to depart on March 7
Officials from the UK Government and representatives of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) visited A&P Falmouth shipyard today for a tour of Bolette, which is currently undergoing a multi-million pound refurbishment.

 The visit was intended to showcase the working shipyard and demonstrate the value of cruise to the UK economy, as well as projects that are ongoing at the shipyard both on and off the ship. Cherilyn Mackrory, MP (Member of Parliament) for Truro and Falmouth and a senior policy advisor for the Department for Transport, Andy Harmer, MD of CLIA UK & Ireland, and Julie Green, VP of strategic communications at CLIA were in attendance.  

Opportunities for the south west 

The Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' vessel is due to leave A&P on March 7, setting sail for Newcastle where it will be based for spring and summer. It is the second time Fred. Olsen has used the shipyard for refurb projects, with Balmoral having undergone work there in May 2022. 

An extensive refurbishment programme was carried out with sister ship Borealis at Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead in November 2022. 

‘...Each of our ships will undergo routine time in dry dock around every two years, and we are really proud to be completing these projects here in shipyards in the UK,’ stated Stuart Ferguson, head of quality and resource, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. ‘It means the money we spend is invested in and supports communities locally, as well as vital supply chains in the surrounding areas.

‘That aside, it also provides an opportunity for us to provide valuable knowledge and experience to the many apprentices who work with the team at A&P, and give them the opportunity to work on a passenger ship.’ 

Mike Spicer, MD, A&P Falmouth, added, 'A&P’s location in the south west makes it an ideal facility for cruise ships operating in this area… Contracts such as these make a significant economic contribution to the prosperity of the south west and helps to support our workforce and apprenticeship programme. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines over the months and years to come.’ 

Developing skills and economic value 

Harmer described the cruise industry as generating significant economic value across the UK, while similarly acknowledging opportunities for developing skills. ‘The work being done by A&P Falmouth for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines shows that this value is generated not only by shipbuilding but also because of ongoing investment, whether it relates to refurbishments, retrofits, or upgrades,’ he said. 

‘Cruise lines are always looking beyond the horizon and future-proofing ships. As well as the economic impact, it is fantastic to see how UK shipyards are benefiting from the opportunity to develop workforce skills.’

Mackrory shared similar sentiments, describing cruise ship refurbishments as helping to refine the skill sets and shipbuilding capabilities of UK shipyards, and resulting in significant benefits for the local economy. ‘The UK’s National Shipbuilding strategy will only be a success if every part of the maritime industry contributes,’ she asserted, while expressing delight at the cruise industry using British shipyards for refurbishments. 

On Falmouth as a cruise destination, she stated, ‘Falmouth is a leading cruise destination, bringing significant economic value to the area, without adding any pressure to current resources and I look forward to continuing Falmouth’s strong relationship with the cruise industry.’