Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Jobs Sail In

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Jobs Sail In

Article excerpt

Byline: By Marie Levy

HUNDREDS of local workers are set to be recruited as Europe's largest ship recycling project gets underway on Teesside today.

The former French aircraft carrier the Clemenceau, now known as the Q790, arrived in Hartlepool yesterday after a five day journey from Brest Harbour in France.

The dismantling of the 32,000-tonne carrier at Able UK's recycling facility at Graythorp - the biggest dry dock in the world - will create around 200 jobs on Teesside.

And Able UK chief Peter Stephenson is determined to employ local people when he begins recruiting the 200 people needed for the project after Easter.

He said: "We always try wherever we go to work 50/50. If we are in Wales 50% of workers will be from Teesside and 50% from Wales. This is here on our doorstep so the workers will be people from Teesside."

Mr Stephenson, chairman and chief executive of Able UK, said the Clemenceau's arrival marked a significant step forward in establishing Teesside at the forefront of an industry with the potential for growth and job creation.

"This was seen throughout the world as a highly significant contract and the fact it has come to our facility demonstrates that we are recognised as a world leader in the field of ship and marine structures recycling."

Able UK has already started building a coffer dam for the pounds 8.75m project. This will allow it to drain the dock, ensuring the work is carried out in a way which ensures no sea water is contaminated.

He said survey work would start straight away with the dismantling work on the Q790 and other vessels beginning after Easter.

Lepine Didier, from the French Navy, said they chose Teesside out of a final shortlist of five companies - two French and three European - to dismantle the ship because it was best for the environment.

He said: "Able UK has been chosen as the best performing in terms of protecting the environment, safety of workers and its capability to keep the whole process under control."

The ship was rejected by India and Egypt as being too toxic to be broken up but Able UK, which has been dismantling oil rigs since 1985, agreed to take it on despite opposition from local campaign group The Friends of Hartlepool. …

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