An iconic Tyne passenger ferry will be in tip top condition for summer after getting a new paint job and an engine overhaul.
The Pride of the Tyne, one of two Shields Ferries owned and operated by Nexus, is currently in dry dock for extensive annual maintenance work.
The 29-year-old vessel, which was built at Swan Hunter yard in 1993, has been treated with 180 litres of new paint – from the mast right down to the hull.
She has had her two propulsion units removed and they are undergoing a major overhaul, which is nearing completion.
Nexus, the public body which operates the Shields Ferry, is investing in the propulsion units to ensure they are ready for many more years of service on the River Tyne.
The work is also part of part of the vessel’s annual survey by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), which needs to be carried out to ensure that she remains sea-worthy and can continue with a licence to carry passengers.
The bulk of the work has been carried out at the UK Docks Marine Services Ltd yard on River Drive in South Shields.
Marine Fitter at Nexus, Mark Elsy, said: “The annual hull survey has to be carried out every year so that we get our MCA certification to carry passengers. It’s a detailed inspection of the vessel which requires her to go into a dry dock.
“We are also having the Pride’s two Voith propulsion units completely refurbished so that they can operate for many more years to come. The hull has been cleaned and she’s been given a new coat of paint from top to bottom.
“We always get these works done at this time of year so that she’s good to go for the summer, when the Shields Ferry is busier.”
Yard Manager at UK Docks, Ian Paolozzi, said: “The work we carry out is effectively like an MOT for the vessel.
“We raise the vessel out of the water into a special dry dock so we can re-paint her right down from the mast to the hull. We refurbish all the sea valves and on this occasion the propulsion units have been taken out for a refit. They were taken out and have been sent away to the manufacturer for that work.
“It’s vital work to ensure the boat is sea-worthy and that all of her safety systems are all operating correctly.”