IMS Shipyard On Couse For Massive Expansion

Denis Pelegrino, MD of IMS and Michael Howorth looking at IMS700It is hard to believe that in the space of a year a former French Navy Seaplane and Helicopter can be transformed into a state of the art shipyard for the refuting of Superyachts.

But that is the ambitious project that IMS have set themselves and the prize at the end of the 12 month project will be the ability to boast that they have created the largest shipyard in the Mediterrean dedicated to the refit repair and maintainence of large yachts.

IMS already has a hugely successful operation at where it is able to handle yachts up to 300 tons. Success has however brought its problems and the worst of it is they are being forced by lack of space to turn away work and are finding it hard to accommodate the number of yachts queuing to use their refit capabilities.

Ten years ago when the French Navy quit the base, IMS began to plan. For nine long years they played the waiting game negotiating and tendering for the right to acquire a 30 year lease to the secure, high security compound. All the time, they were, in the background quietly discussing with construction contractors with regard to what they could achieve if their bid for the lease was successful.

Their ploy played off and they signed the lease in late February 2014. Less than two weeks later, the first of the contractors heavy ground-moving plant moved onto site.

So rapid and meticulously have the plans progressed, the company has already signed up 12 Superyachts to sail into the new facility they will call IMS 700, on December 15th, less than 10 months after construction began. The largest of these a 65 metre Heesen.

The Captains of those yachts need not fear that they maybe sailing into a building site. We have visited the facility and can report that the chances in fact the construction programme is running two weeks ahead of schedule.

IMS_0025The 65 man construction crew have completely renovated the hard standing, strengthening the roadways to withstand loads of more than 1000 tons, the combined weight of the brand new 670 ton capacity travel lift that itself weighs 234 tons.

In the fullness of time, that travel lift will be able to lift over 320 yachts ashore each year for storage or refitting work on hard standing. Hard standing offers a capacity for up to 40 yachts ashore at any one time. On the water new stern to working berths are available for yachts up to 80 metres who need not come ashore, the only limiting factor being and operating draught of 8 metres. Yachts will be secured to an all new purpose-built concrete pier whose walkway will be 4 metres wide.

Ashore, four huge hangers that once house seaplanes will offer under cover storage to yachts seeking shelter from the elements. Workshops offer all manner of trades and services offered by an onshore workforce made up of company engineers and permanently engaged sub contractors.

The original IMS shipyard will be renamed IMS 300, will continue to operate and share what will become a significantly enlarged workforce that will be engaged shortly. Recruiting experienced shipwrights will not present a problem in an area that is already famed for his skilled labour force trained in the nearby maintenance shipyards of the French Navy.

Over 23 million euro is being ploughed into this privately funded operation that will see IMS move from handling 120 yachts a year to over 400. The current turnover of 8 million euros will raise proportionally justifying the investment. By the time the facility has been completed, over 11 million will have been spent on creating Beth’s and the new lifting dock, 3 million on the buildings, 3 million on the hard standing, 3 million on the infrastructure and over two million on the very latest remotely controlled travel lift from Italy.

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