A SHIPYARD which can offer refits for vessels up to 950 tonnes has been made available to customers on Southampton Water.

Southampton Marine Services Group (SMS), one of the country’s leading ship repairers and marine services, has set up a new operation at Hythe Shipyard just south of Marchwood.

The company specialises in ship repair, marine engineering and major fabrication projects.

It works in the commercial marine, defence and superyacht sectors as well as offering a diving and sub-surface marine engineering division.

The facility at the top of Southampton Water, owned by Fairline, allows vessels up to 950 tonnes, 55metres in length and 11.5m beam to be slipped and hauled ashore.

Chris Norman, managing director of SMS, said: “The site is perfect, ideally located and spacious enough for the largest of refits.

“Having worked here myself for many, many years its genuinely exciting to not only see the yard’s future but to be a small part of it,” he added.

“We look forward to working with commercial manager Rob Hammond, and his team and helping develop this site into a real ship repair hub.

“Our light-weight, low cost model works perfectly in this partnership.

“We’ve had demonstrable success in both Shoreham and Cherbourg and we look forward to the same here in Southampton, the home of SMS.”

The site also offers moorings for vessels from 10m to 100m in length overall.

There is 10,000 sqm of undercover space and 24-hour, seven days a week security.

The yard is an ‘open’ facility, so SMS can bring its full suite of trades to the site, including structural and mechanical repair teams, electrical and hydraulic engineers, painting and coatings experts and interior and exterior outfitters.

Rob Hammond, commercial manager of Hythe Shipyard, said: “We know we’ve got a great facility and to have now partnered with SMS allows us to offer the full shipyard proposition.

“We can price the yard side competitively, and SMS have a unique reputation for being both value-for-money and ensuring quality delivery. Together we’re a very strong proposition.”

SMS’ customers include the likes of Wightlink, P&O Ferries, Red Funnel, Condor Ferries and BAE Systems.

Among the vessels which have already been seen at the Marchwood yard are Red Funnel Ferries’ Red Jet high speed catamaran, which links Southampton with West Cowes.

Following the partnership agreement reached with SMS, Hythe Shipyard is open for ship repair works and refits both shoreside and alongside.

Hythe Shipyard’s heavy slipway was built by the US Navy in the 1950s and was used to launch landing craft that were manufactured on the site. It is the only slipway of its kind on Southampton Water.