A SHIP repairer has been doing more work with the cruise industry despite the Covid crisis.

The SMS Group recently moved its local base, making it the only ship repairer based in the Port of Southampton.

It has supported a dozen vessels in one month from its site at Western Avenue, within the footprint of ABP Southampton and next to the King George V dry dock.

The move helped bring in cruise-related revenue for the business, which specialises in ship repair, marine engineering and major fabrication projects in the commercial marine, defence, cruise and superyachts sectors.

Nicholas Warren, the firm’s commercial director, said: “Cruise is so important to our business.

“Our head of interiors Dan Lockyer and his team lead our fit out and marine refurbishment business. Ben Rowe and Dave Chaffers support the ships’ engineering requirements and from the same site in Southampton our sister company Global Services manages the vessels’ procurement and supply needs.

“The provision of ‘ride on squads’ across both our engineering business and out fit business has enabled us to capitalise on our unique position in Southampton.

“Short, sharp port calls have allowed us to demob and remob quickly, and efficiently, to the benefit of all our cruise customers.

“Our focus on longer-term relationships and the ‘lifetime’ value of customers ensures that we price correctly and deliver the very best service. This month alone we’ve attended over a dozen ships within the port.”

Dan Lockyer, head of interiors, said: “Changes in the cruise sector have presented an obvious challenge, but we, in line with the Carnival Corporation chief executive Arnold Donald, remain cautiously optimistic.

“Our pipeline is very strong, our network is growing daily and perhaps more importantly our forward order book looks genuinely healthy.

“A big win for us has been the ‘ride on squads’. They’re lower revenue but allow our customers to make the most of both their budgets and capacity onboard.

“Our short-term future is focused on smaller packages of work, but very soon we hope to see a meaningful recovery. Both universal testing and vaccines will ensure the industry recovers quickly.”

The SMS Group will be investing in both the fabrication workshop and the new mechanical workshop. It will invest in offices and add capacity for the fit out and marine refurbishment team.