UK Docks' founder Harry Wilson with son and director Jonathan Wilson and operations manager Stephen Lee, welcome Commodore Phillip Waterhouse and HMS Protector Captain Michael Wood MBE to Teesside.
Image Source: Will Haigh RN
UK Docks' founder Harry Wilson (centre) with son and director Jonathan Wilson and operations manager Stephen Lee, welcome Commodore Phillip Waterhouse and HMS Protector Captain Michael Wood MBE to Teesside.

Member Article

Royal Navy hails work of Teesside's UK Docks

Record-breaking trials by the Royal Navy’s only icebreaker, HMS Protector, have been credited to the superb work done by UK Docks on Teesside last year in a £14million refit.

The ship has just returned from successful trials in the Arctic in which it broke ice further north than any Royal Navy vessel since the 1970s.

And on its way to its next mission - a fourth-month deployment to Antarctica, 10,000 miles away - HMS Protector has made a brief return to Teesside, holding a civic reception on board to celebrate the good work UK Docks has been carrying out on Royal Navy vessels on the River Tees over the past two years.

The Tyneside-based company signed a £150m, 10-year contract with the navy to service and repair the country’s survey fleet - HMS Protector and sister ships HMS Enterprise and HMS Echo.

Captain Michael Wood MBE, the commanding officer of HMS Protector, told guests: “I take my hat off to UK Docks for the work that they have done on the ship.

“The vessel is 20 years old, so it’s not a new ship, and last year the team at UK Docks worked for many months giving her a complete refit and overhaul which has left her in as good a condition as she has ever been in.

“We really put Protector’s ice-breaking capabilities to the test in the Arctic and were delighted to go further into the polar cap than any of our vessels has done in decades.”

Among the guests were UK Docks’ founder Harry Wilson and son Jonathan, as well as the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Johanna Ropner, Commodore Phillip Waterhouse, the Naval Regional Commander for the North, Jacob Young MP for Cleveland and Redcar, The Mayor of Teesside, Ben Houchen and the director of the Northern Powerhouse, Henri Murison.

UK Docks Harry Wilson, who founded the family-run company in 1995 and has developed it into a national and international company said: “We were honoured that the navy wanted to celebrate its links to Teesside and the North East with this reception.

“It was the proudest moment of my career, for UK Docks to secure a major Royal Navy contract which brought work and business to the North East, safeguarding and increasing jobs in the region.

“We take our responsibilities incredibly seriously as a company in terms of what we do, so it was music to our ears to hear how well the crew and the vessel had performed in the Arctic.

“We made a commitment to the Royal Navy when we won this contract against stiff opposition to produce work of the highest calibre - exceptional work they would expect as a matter of course - and it’s pleasing that we have clear evidence of this.

“We look forward to developing our relationship with the Navy and wish it well in its efforts to build its links with the communities of Teesside”

Henri Murison, director of the business arm of Northern Powerhouse, said: “This is a fantastic story of an innovative and ambitious North East company bringing major and prestigious work to the region.

“It was great to see how successful this relationship between the navy and UK Docks has been and the desire by everyone involved to make this a very long-term relationship, supporting jobs and industry in the north.”

HMS Protector is with UK Docks for the next month undergoing a routine service before it heads off to Antarctica to patrol British overseas territories, including the 1.7m square kilometres of Antarctica that the UK has claim to.

It will represent those interests, as well as doing surveying work and supporting the work of the British Antarctic survey team.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Graeme Anderson .

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