Northern Ireland

Harland and Wolff recruits 600 temporary staff

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Media captionThe Samson and Goliath cranes will have to be moved along their tracks for the duration of the refurbishment contract

Harland and Wolff shipyard has recruited 600 skilled tradesmen for work on one of the biggest oil rigs ever to be refurbished in Belfast.

The employees are on short-term contracts for the multi-million pound project due to begin next month.

Temporary canteens and other facilities have been set up to accommodate them.

The 360 ft tall Blackford Dolphin offshore drill platform is currently on its way from Brazil to Belfast where it will undergo maintenance work.

Harland and Wolff said it will be too big to fit beneath the Samson and Goliath cranes which will have to be moved along their tracks to the city end of the building dock for the 50-days duration of the refurbishment contract.

David McVeigh, head of sales and marketing at Harland and Wolff, said the contract was on such a large scale and completed within such a tight time frame, that the 600 additional contractors had to be recruited swiftly.

"Harland and Wolff continues to compete successfully in a sector which has seen competition grow," said Mr McVeigh.

"Apart from being able to exceed stringent health and safety element requirements for such contracts, H&W is also capable of great flexibility which means we can put 600 contractors from electrical, welding, engineering and painting disciplines in place in a short time."

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