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Last Updated: Monday, 1 October 2007, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK
Titanic yard has sights on design
The yard is to design elements of a heavy lifting vessel

It has shrunk in size from its heyday, but Harland and Wolff is still competing at an international level in terms of design.

The yard that built the Titanic is now to design elements of an advanced heavy lift vessel after an agreement with Netherlands shipbuilder, Merwede.

The firm, based near Rotterdam, is a market leader in the dredger market and a main supplier for marine and offshore vessels.

The head of marketing and sales at Harland and Wolff, David McVeigh, said they were now a centre of excellence in the use of shipbuilding software.

"Thanks to the advanced technology in place and the fact that we have some of the most experienced design engineers in the country, we are able to take on this major 12-month contract with full confidence," he said.

Further services are being supplied to Merwede including naval architecture, structural and systems design assistance.

Harland and Wolff has entered new markets in the last five years to complement existing core markets such as design engineering.

While it remains strongly committed to the shipbuilding industry and has a growing order book for ship repair and conversion contracts, the company has extended its reach into other markets including renewable energy generation technology.

Last year, it completed the assembly of an offshore wind farm comprising 30 turbines, a prototype wave energy generator and, most recently, a marine current turbine unit for installation in the Strangford Narrows.

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