A COMPANY which refurbishes passenger ships is increasing its staff count by at least 15 per cent amid “staggering” growth in the cruise market.

Southampton-based Trimline says it hopes to recruit locally where possible as it looks to increase its head count to around 100.

The company, based in Trimline House on Paget Street, refurbishes the interiors of cruise ships and ferries.

The cruise industry is currently booming, with 127 new liners to be built between now and 2027.

Trimline says this has had a huge impact on its order book as companies approach it to refurbish the interiors of existing cruise ships to the standard of the new ones.

Trimline’s chief operating officer, Ross Welham, said: “Where possible we like to recruit from within the local community and while our market is quite specialist, there is a lot of marine talent in the area that we hope to attract.

“Some of the roles we are looking to fill roles include project managers, CAD draughtspeople, ship surveyors and contract support co-ordinator.

“The joinery workshop is another area we are expanding as the demand for our in-house joinery expertise increases.”

Trimline was founded in 1965 by Reg Oliver, supported by wife Audrey, after he was made redundant. He set up shop in a friend’s leaky shed with just a sewing machine for company.

He quickly grew his team and moved to more suitable premises.

By the 1980s, Trimline had entered the global cruise refit market and began refurbishing the interior of cruise ships such as QE2 and Canberra.

Reg and Audrey’s sons Gary and Michael Oliver joined the business at that time, carrying out their apprenticeships on the shop floor.

Chairman Gary Oliver said: “After 40 years in this industry, my brother and I still get excited about every project we undertake.

“Some of our staff have been with us for almost as long as I have and so even though we have grown to be a market-leading business, we still have a family feel.

“With the growth in the cruise market, the future is looking very bright for Trimline and with the support of our new staff members, we look forward to further organic growth.”