Fendercare Marine’s new Great Yarmouth base to support wind farms

The boss of Fendercare Marine said the company's investment of more than �1m in a new Great Yarmouth base would support existing wind farms, but he was hoping the next major round of construction would begin soon.

At the official Cobholm base opening in the Old Bure Marine site today Eric Plane unveiled a large set down and storage area with a vast crane as well as quay side frontage and office facilities. The site was spotted by a long standing employee who had seen the potential of the base for the energy sector.

Mr Plane said: 'This base will pay for itself because of what's already in the water. All the turbines already out there and working need operation and maintenance. These facilities will help provide back up to that sector of the market.'

But he also said they were hoping to benefit from the planned next round of wind farms - known as Round Three - which could see more than 1,000 turbines installed further off the coast of Norfolk.

He said: 'We are especially hoping, like everyone else, the new Round Three farms will happen soon, but that wasn't why we invested this money in the base.'

He added: 'Fendercare has traditionally been involved in the shipping industry, but we are trying to reposition ourselves for the offshore energy industry and this base is part of that overall strategy.

'From a personal point of view I'm a Gorleston boy, I have run businesses in Great Yarmouth for 12 years in the 1980s and 1990s. This is a chance to go back to my roots.'

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He also said the base would put the company in a position to benefit from the large scale decommissioing of oil and gas structures in the Southern North Sea over the next 20 to 30 years.

'This puts us in a position to be able to help with that,' he said.

The new base in Cobholm has been built following the success of the first of its kind for Fendercare in Lyness, Orkney.

The base was officially opened by the MP for Great Yarmouth, Brandon Lewis.

Following the official opening Norfolk based formation display team, Wildcat Aerobatics did a fly past and there was a rescue demonstration by the local RNLI.

It is intended that the new Fendercare Marine base will provide a hub for all types of offshore activity in the Southern North Sea. The base has mooring facilities for up to three offshore support craft at a time, with additional capacity for a further five vessels on land.

John Best, Fendercare's head of sustainable energy, said: 'Over the last two years we identified the offshore renewable industry as being one with substantial and sustained growth. This base is part of our investment in offshore, sustainable energy business. Specific business opportunities in the nascent offshore wave and tidal businesses are being successfully harnessed through operations managed from our Lyness base in the Orkneys and today sees us formally open our Marine service base here in Great Yarmouth.'

Fendercare Marine - which is part of marine service provider James Fisher & Sons Plc - has seen extraordinary growth in the last five years increasing its turnover from �27m to �150m.

It has ambitious targets to treble this over the next four years.

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