Makeover for TV star ship

Project manager Mick Wappett, who has led the team at A&P Tees during the major refurbishment of the dredger Arco Beck, following the vessels two-year layup, pictured with Capt Jae Jones, operations manager with Hanson Aggregates Marine, the vessel's owners.
Project manager Mick Wappett, who has led the team at A&P Tees during the major refurbishment of the dredger Arco Beck, following the vessels two-year layup, pictured with Capt Jae Jones, operations manager with Hanson Aggregates Marine, the vessel's owners.
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A SHIP which was mothballed in Sunderland has been given a much-needed makeover after becoming a star of the small screen.

Arco Beck, which featured in the North East-based detective series, Vera, was given a rest from her duties as a dredger when the recession hit.

But during her temporary retirement, Arco Beck was called into action to appear in the ITV drama, starring award-winning actress Brenda Blethyn.

She has now been brought back to life at the A&P Tees ship repair yard in Middlesbrough, which is gaining a reputation for making over vessels which have been TV stars.

Last year the yard restored the Tall Ship winner Christian Radich, star of the BBC TV series The Onedin Line and the movie Windjammer, to her former glory.

Owners Hanson Aggregate Marine Ltd decided to mothball Arco Beck from their nine-strong fleet of specialist aggregate dredgers until business improved.

The 5,891 deadweight tonne dredger, designed to extract sand and gravel from the seabed, was laid up in 2009 when the economic downturn kicked in.

Captain Jae Jones, operations manager of the Southampton-based company, said: “Arco Beck was unfortunately the logical choice to be laid up because although she is a good ship, she isn’t as flexible in her dredging and discharging capability as the other vessels of our fleet.

“But in that time she did become a TV star. There was a lot of action going with cars screeching up alongside her and actors running through the engine room.

“Some of our staff even appeared as extras.”

The 99-metre long vessel was towed down to A&P Tees for a major refit and overhaul, including the renewal of 50 tonnes of steel, all the cabins being refurbished with new carpets and curtains and the galley refitted.

A crew of 10 are aboard the ship for three weeks at a time and she will soon be operating in the River Thames area and in Belgium and France.

A&P Tees project manager Mike Wappett said: “The job went remarkably well, the steelwork was ahead of schedule, but there were a few challenges placed upon everybody involved in bringing the ship back into service.”

Twitter: @janethejourno