Northern Ireland

Harland and Wolff says shipbuilding needs more support

Harland and Wolff stopped shipbuilding in 2003
Image caption Harland and Wolff stopped shipbuilding in 2003

The government should show greater support for UK shipbuilding firms after Brexit, according to the chief executive of Harland and Wolff.

Brexit offers opportunities, but the industry still needs government support, said Jonathan Guest.

A previous review recommended future naval ships should be built at UK yards, including Belfast.

Harland and Wolff hopes to be a part of a government plan to build five new Royal Navy frigates across the UK.

The new frigates would be built across different shipyards, but assembled at a central site, and ready for service by 2023.

Image copyright John Linton/BAE Systems/PA
Image caption HMS Queen Elizabeth was built in blocks across six cities before being assembled in Rosyth

Engineering firm Harland and Wolff built its last ship in 2003 and its more recent work has included refurbishing oil rigs, as well as work in the renewable energy sector.

Mr Guest said he was confident about future contracts for Harland and Wolff.

"When you look at some of the build programmes that are coming up with the Royal Navy, that will obviously require UK content," he told the BBC's Inside Business programme.

"If you look at the volume of wind farm development that is still happening in the UK - the UK is still the number one region in the world for off-shore wind development.

Image copyright DONG Energy
Image caption Harland and Wolff also manufactures suction buckets to anchor turbines to the sea bed

"I would like to see a bit less of the pan-European attitudes in the past and the government to enforce a little bit of the UK content element within that, and help support the industry."

Inside Business is broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster on Sundays at 1330 BST and on Mondays at 1830 BST.

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