MJM Group, a world-leading fit-out specialist, headquartered in Northern Ireland has signed an historic, multi-million pound contract with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and operator Azamara Club Cruises®. This will see MJM Group create history by bringing one of the first major refits of a cruise liner in a UK dry dock. MJM Group, which specialises in high end marine fit outs will bring the luxury cruise company’s newest ship to Belfast, to manage and complete a full refit. The announcement 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.

MJM Group will project manage the docking, berthing and refit of the Azamara Pursuit in Belfast, testament to the company’s rapid growth over the past decade, and creating a momentous opportunity for MJM Group to put Northern Ireland, and the UK’s marine industry on the global map.

“MJM Group is delighted to have been awarded the refit contract for Azamara Pursuit in what is a milestone opportunity for our business, and indeed for the marine industry in the UK,” commented Gary Annett, Chief Executive Officer of MJM Group. “The success of this project has the potential to be a game-changer for the UK maritime industry. By securing this multi-million pound contract we are putting Northern Ireland, and the UK’s marine industry in a strong position to compete for future drydock and refit works.”

According to Cruise Industry News 2018 Drydock and Refurbishment Report, there are currently 335 ocean going ships which dry-dock on average every two and a half years. It is estimated that the cruise ship industry spends $3bn on dry-docking and ships refurbishments annually with the majority of the works carried out in shipyards in the Caribbean, Europe, USA, Canada and Asia.

Mr Annett said it was important to MJM Group to bring the historic refit project to Belfast: “This contract gave us the opportunity we had been waiting for, which is to bring a major refit to a UK port for the first time in many years. MJM Group has an exceptional track record of delivering world class cruise liner refits for the world’s top operators in docks across the world but we have always had the ambition to revive the rich shipbuilding industry history right here in Northern Ireland. We looked at many other facilities globally but we worked hard to put together a case for Northern Ireland. To secure the Azamara project we had to demonstrate that we had the ability to provide complete project management, outfitting, berthing and ship yard services. With Harland & Wolff on our doorstep and our experience in the industry we were able to do this. This truly is a historic day for this industry in Northern Ireland, for MJM Group and indeed our customers.”

Jonathan Guest, Director of Business Development and Improvement at Harland & Wolff said, “We are delighted that MJM Group is bringing this fantastic project to Belfast and to our shipyard. We have global brand recognition as a historic leader in the shipbuilding industry and we know that there is so much potential to revive this industry in Northern Ireland. We look forward to supporting MJM Group on this project and hopefully other refits in the future.”

Azamara Pursuit will be the third ship in the Azamara Club Cruise® fleet joining Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey to offer passengers the opportunity to travel in luxurious surrounding and visit unique ports that larger ships are unable to reach. Together, the three ships will support the brand’s commitment to enrich destination immersion around the world, by staying longer in port to allow guests to experience more.

Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises® travelled to London to announce the plans for Azamara Pursuit. “This is a wonderful occasion for Azamara Club Cruises®. This is the first time any company within Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd has used a UK shipyard for refit works of this scale. We are delighted to come to Northern Ireland with Azamara Pursuit.  It will be a truly magnificent sight to see our ship beneath the historic Harland & Wolff cranes which are so synonymous with Belfast’s proud maritime history and we thank MJM Group for helping us make this happen. Additionally, Azamara Pursuit will make her maiden voyage from Southampton which will be another momentous occasion for us.  With the refit in Belfast and her maiden voyage from Southampton, we are showing our commitment to the UK market place.”

Azamara Pursuit will arrive in Belfast in April for work to commence and will make her maiden voyage from Southampton in August 2018.