Local firm charts new waters with liner refit.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Local firm charts new waters with liner refit. thumbnailPictured (from left) Gary Annett, CEO MJM Group, Jonathan Guest, director Harland & Wolff, Captain Carl Smith, Councillor Sonia Copeland, Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Brian McConville, chairman MJM Group, and Richard Twynam, Azamara Club Cruises.

A COMPANY which started out in Rathfriland made history when the Azamara Pursuit sailed into Belfast for a complete refit at Harland & Wolff.

It will be one of the first major refits of a cruise liner in a UK dry dock and is being handled by MJM Group.

The company has signed an historic, multi-million pound contract with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and operator Azamara Club Cruises.

Established in Rathfriland in 1983 by local man Brian McConville, MJM Group is a world leader in refurbishment, refit and interior fit-out services, offering comprehensive bespoke and turnkey solutions to the marine, commercial and private sectors.

With its headquarters now in Newry, MJM Group is a family-run organisation, founded by Mr McConville who remains chairman of the company. He is accompanied on the executive team by his son Conleth and daughter Naoimh and eight additional directors.

MJM Group operates with a workforce of 240 staff and access to a global pool of 2000 skilled tradespeople for large projects.

The luxury cruise liner, which is managed by Azamara Club Cruises, a global brand of Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd, will undergo a complete interior refurbishment under the management and supervision of MJM Group, whilst berthed at Harland & Wolff.

This refit is an unprecedented, potential game changer both for MJM Group and the global cruise ship industry, as it represents the first time a cruise ship owner has awarded complete project management responsibility to an individual organisation.

It is also the largest project of its kind in many years in a UK port and offers the opportunity to reinvigorate the ship building and repair industry in Belfast.

Gary Annett, CEO, MJM Group said: "We are delighted to welcome the Azamara Pursuit safely to Belfast following its two week journey from the Bahamas.

"Watching her berth at Harland and Wolff is the fulfilment of long-held ambition of MJM Group founder and chair Brian Mc-Conville to bring a project of this scale to Belfast. This truly is historic, not just for MJM Group but for the marine industry, and there is a real sense that the eyes of the marine world are firmly on us and on Northern Ireland.

"This has the potential to open up Belfast for further work of this scale and to offer a major boost to the local economy. At any given time in the next couple of months there may be up to 800 of our people and crew working on the ship.

"We want all of these people, if they are not familiar with this part of the world, to experience some of what Northern Ireland and Belfast has to offer."

Richard Twynam, Azamara Club Cruises Managing Director, UK and Ireland, said: "We've seen unprecedented support from the UK market for Azamara Pursuit, so we are delighted to show our recognition of this by allowing its transformational journey to take place here in Belfast.

"With the christening taking place in Southampton, and the maiden voyage departing from Southampton too, the UK is playing a key part in the ship's story and so we're thrilled that the refit is taking place at Harland & Wolff." Meanwhile, Jonathan Guest, director of Business Development and Improvement, Harland & Wolff said: "

We are delighted to be working with MJM Group in providing the berthing, support and other services for this fantastic project. We are all acutely aware of Belfast's rich maritime history and it is great to be part of providing a major boost for this traditional industry here today."

The Azamara Pursuit will be docked in Belfast for several months while a full refit is carried out.

The ship will sail for to Southampton at the end of July ahead of its maiden voyage from Southampton to Norway on 1 August.


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