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Southampton-headquartered ship repairer and marine engineering services provider SMS has completed its second major high speed craft refit in France.

SMS has undocked Brittany Ferries’ Normandie Express in Cherbourg on the Ports of Normandy Authority’s (PNA) ship lift.

Over a three-week period, SMS undertook the docking on the Rolls-Royce syncrolift in the Port of Cherbourg.

The lift is 90m x 32m and offers a 3000T lift capacity.

Located just 75 miles from the Solent, it’s more effective solution for Solent centric operators than the ship repair yards in the North East and South West.

John Webb, the Technical Manager of SMS in Dover, said: “This is the second fast ferry refit that the team in Dover have undertaken in Cherbourg this year. “Having docked the Condor Rapide during the first half of the year we clearly demonstrated to both competitors and customers alike that not only do SMS have the expertise to complete engineering works in this unique sector but also the perfect suitability of the footprint in Cherbourg for fast ferry refit and repair works.”

He added: “The refit encompassed structural aluminium repairs including hull inserts, and repairs to the underhull planking and jet room.

“All the sea valves were overhauled, and the anodes replaced. The main engine coolers and lube oil pumps were changed. We conducted fire-main repairs and replacements, and insulation repairs and replacements. Our engineering team also completed the hydraulic maintenance of the ride control system and made repairs to fire door frames. In terms of the stern gear we also painted the waterjets, the relevant hull inserts, and completed the waterjet anode replacements.”

In conclusion, Mr Webb said: “This was a major program of works completed by SMS on time and on budget.

“A real win-win. I’d like to thank Brittany Ferries for their custom and technical support during the docking period. They’ve been a real pleasure to work with and we’re extremely grateful.”

SMS has a partnership agreement which allows it to use the Syncrolift facility at the Port of Cherbourg on a ‘turn up and go’ basis.

SMS does not need a permanent base in Cherbourg - the company is built around mobility, flexibility and a dynamic multiskilled workforce that routinely travel. Hence refits and repairs alongside nationally, and now internationally, are considered the norm.

Peter Morton, Chief Executive of both SMS and the Wight Shipyard Co, said from Interferry 2018 in Cancun: "The expertise now available on the south coast with regards to fast ferry newbuild, refit and repair is quite simply unrivalled. We’re achieving global recognition. We build fantastic passenger ferries and we’ve the engineering expertise to offer the required global support. The refit of the ‘Normandie Express’ is one more example of how we’re serving the fast ferry market not only domestically in the UK but also internationally."

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