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Coup for engineering cluster

Nelson's engineering cluster has scored a major coup with a contract for two weeks of refit work on the tanker Taiko, to be carried out at Port Nelson in late May.

The work on the Taiko is expected to employ up to 60 people from eight local engineering firms, and to pump up to half a million dollars into the regional economy.

Steve Olds, the Facilitator for the Nelson Engineering Cluster says Silver Fern Shipping (the company that carries out New Zealand¹s coastal fuel delivery) had been wanting to bring ships to Nelson for survey work for some time:

"There was no single engineering firm that was large enough to manage a refit of this scale,² he said. "When they heard the Engineering Cluster was up and running they came to us and we took it from there.

There is considerable organisational work involved in the project - right down to setting up a Œsmoko shed¹ and portaloos on site for engineering staff. Staff will also all require photo ID to enter the port security gate.

"We are appointing a project manager and a health and safety coordinator to work on the project,² Mr Olds said. "Ensuring eight companies - ranging from heavy engineering through to electrical suppliers - are organised and on site at the right stage of the project is a huge task.

The tanker Taiko is described as the Œworkhorse of Silver Fern Shipping¹. The 193m vessel is 22 years old and earlier this year berthed at Port Nelson on her 1000th voyage from the Marsden Point refinery.

The on water refit is thought to be the largest of its type ever undertaken in Nelson Port Nelson Infrastructure Manager Dick Carter said the vessel would be berthed at Main Wharf North, close to her usual oil discharge berth.

"We will use the squared off section of Brunt Quay that was completed last year, to berth her as far north as possible and leave space for another vessel to be worked at Main Wharf South, he said.

"Silver Fern Shipping is the main user of this berth and they are arranging to send a tanker before and after the Taiko refit so that Nelson¹s fuel supply is uninterrupted.

Mr Carter said the Taiko reft was seen by the port as very positive: "It brings more business to the port and to the regional economy, he said. "We are pleased to do what we can to assist.

The Nelson Engineering Cluster was formed several years ago, but widened its base last year from a strictly marine basis. Mr Olds said the Taiko project would open the door to more significant contracts."

This lets the industry see the cooperation and expertise that we are capable of in Nelson, he said. "With the big energy projects planned for the Taranaki coast Nelson is well positioned to take on more of this work, and our climate is another plus for outdoor work like welding and painting.


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