BIRKENHEAD shipyard Cammell Laird has completed a massive £18m refit of the largest ship in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the RFA Fort George.

Cammell Laird chief executive John Syvret said the refit employed more than 250 staff over six months and was a hugely successful job.

He said: “The George was the star of the show in November on the day we renamed the shipyard back to Cammell Laird.

“The George’s image was seen across the media as a beacon of the calibre and standard of work we do. This job was a complex military refit which required considerable skills and expertise which this shipyard has worked so hard to rebuild.

“I personally thank all the staff who worked so hard to make this refit such a success.

“We look forward to seeing the George again as we begin the new Ministry of Defence ‘cluster’ contract, worth £180m over the next five years, to maintain her and 10 other ships in the RFA fleet.

“This through-life contract is worth up to £1bn over 30 years.”

Commodore Dave Preston said: “These ships often serve very long periods at sea so these docking periods are an opportunity to modernise and add new capabilities.

“The refit has upgraded the military communication systems, a vital capability on board, as well as completed a major overhaul of the machinery and electrical equipment.”

Cammell Laird’s current workload is split around 50-50 between Ministry of Defence and commercial sector work.