Belfast shipyard welcomes cruise ship for £50m refurb

By John Campbell
BBC News NI Economics & Business Editor

image captionUp to 800 people will work on the refurbishment of the Azamara Pursuit

A cruise ship has docked at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast for an "unprecedented" refurbishment project.

The Newry-based MJM Group will work on the Azamara Pursuit over the next three months.

MJM normally sends its workforce to undertake projects at docks in the Caribbean or mainland Europe.

This is the first time the company will undertake a cruise ship project in Northern Ireland.

It said the project has the potential to "open up Belfast for further work of this scale".

Journey from the Bahamas

Gary Annett, MJM's chief executive said, "We are delighted to welcome the Azamara Pursuit safely to Belfast following its two-week journey from the Bahamas:

"Watching her berth at Harland and Wolff is the fulfilment of long-held ambition of MJM Group founder and chair Brian McConville to bring a project of this scale to Belfast."

There will be up to 800 people working on the project which is understood to have a value of around £50m.

Harland & Wolff will be providing the berthing, support and other services for the project.

'Unprecedented support'

Azamara Club Cruises, a global brand of Royal Caribbean Cruise, recently bought the ship and will bring it into service after the refurbishment.

Richard Twynam, Azamara Club Cruises Managing Director, UK and Ireland said: "We've seen unprecedented support from the UK market for Azamara Pursuit, so we are delighted to show our recognition of this by allowing its transformational journey to take place here in Belfast.'

The ship's crew will spend the next few weeks familiarising themselves with the vessel before refurbishment work ramps up in June & July.

It is due to sail for Southampton at the end of July ahead of its maiden voyage from Southampton to Norway on 1 August 2018.

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