One of the vessels on the River Tyne ferry crossing has been withdrawn as it undergoes a much-needed facelift and health check.
The iconic Pride of the Tyne ferry is one of two Nexus owned and operated ferries that carry almost 400,000 passengers a year between the north and south banks of the river.
But the 29-year-old ferry built at the Swan Hunter yard in Wallsend is currently receiving its annual paint job as well as an engine overhaul. Paint jobs usually take two weeks, but the boat’s time ashore has been extended to eight weeks this year so that her two propulsion units can be returned to the builder for work.
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Nexus says there will be no disruption to schedules with the Pride of the Tyne expected to be operational again around mid-May and the fleet’s other ferry, Spirit of the Tyne, which currently operates the service .
The Pride of the Tyne, which takes around seven minutes to cross the river between North Shields and South Shields, will be treated with 180 liters of new paint – from her mast to her hull. Nexus is also taking the opportunity to invest in propulsion units to ensure they are up to date for many years of service on the River Tyne.
The work forms part of the vessel’s annual inspection by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), which must be carried out to ensure it remains seaworthy and can continue with a license to carry cargo. passengers.
Most of the work was carried out at the UK yard Docks Marine Services Ltd on River Drive in South Shields.
Marine Fitter at Nexus, Mark Elsy, said: “The annual hull inspection must be carried out every year in order for us to achieve our MCA certification to carry passengers. It is a detailed inspection of the ship that obliges him to go to dry dock.
“We also have the two Voith propulsion units of the Pride completely refurbished so that they can operate for many years to come. The hull has been cleaned and she received a new coat of paint from top to bottom.
“We always do this work at this time of year so she’s ready to go for the summer when the Shields Ferry is busier.”
Yard Manager at UK Docks, Ian Paolozzi, added: “The work we do is effectively like an MOT for the ship. We raise the ship out of the water in a special drydock so that we can repaint it from mast to hull.
“We are refitting all the sea valves and on this occasion the propulsion units were taken out for a refit. They were dismantled and sent back to the builder for this work.
“It’s a vital job to make sure the boat is seaworthy and that all of its safety systems are working properly.”