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Historic launch marks return of shipbuilding on Teesside

Teesside’s bygone reputation as a shipbuilding hub will be revived this weekend when the first vessel built in Middlesbrough in some time is launched on the Tees.

Jalna ConstructionThe historic launch of Jalna Construction’s 14 metre-long industrial boat will be the culmination of two years of skilled engineering work at the fabrication firm’s Riverside Park base.

On Saturday morning the boat will set out for the Isle of Skye where it will be used for salmon net cleaning and fishing by its new owner, Feorlig Marine.

Jalna Construction MD Greg Horner, who named the boat The Gracie Ava after his four-year-old granddaughter, said: “The project has been a labour of love for the past two years and, whilst I’ll be proud to see it sail away, I’ll also miss seeing it evolve every day.

“I’m extremely proud of our whole workforce, including my sons Richard and Tom, and the hard work and dedication they have put into building and now launching The Gracie Ava. I’m sure my granddaughter, who’ll be present at the launch, will be as proud as I am.”

Non-executive director of Jalna, Gary Lumby MBE, added: “Saturday’s event will be a fantastic reminder of the world class engineering skills we have here on Teesside and what they can achieve given the opportunity.”

The Gracie Ava project represented a diversion for Jalna from its core business of supplying fabrication and engineering services to the offshore wind, marine and construction sectors.

Having built the ship between other contracts, however, the business is now considering building a second vessel on Teesside.

The launch of The Gracie Ava takes place at 8.45am this Saturday (29th November) at Dawsons Wharf, Riverside Park, Middlesbrough.

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