June 01, 2012

The Lerrix – named after family member Lucinda Emily Rix – is a £6m steel marine bunkering vessel which will be used to refuel larger ships along the Humber estuary and  the East Coast of the UK.

The vessel is the last steel ship to be built by Rix-owned Hepworth Ship Yard in Paull, East Yorkshire, which is now the base of recently formed company Dunstons (Ship Builders) Ltd.

It is also the biggest ship the yard has ever produced, tipping the scales at a dead weight of 1254 tonnes and measuring 53 metres in length.

According to Nikki Jessop, director of Maritime Bunkering at Rix, the Lerrix will carry up to 500 tonnes of fuel oil plus 600 tonnes of gas oil, employs a crew of six and is powered by two 475kW Cummins engines.

It is so advanced it can blend fuel to the customer’s requirements on board and then heats it to facilitate efficient pumping.

Mrs Jessop said: “The Lerrix will pick up marine fuel on the Humber at Associated Petroleum Terminals in Immingham and then steam out on to the East Coast ports to wherever it is required. It can fuel several ships from one load, or in the case of a really big vessel, just service one customer and then return.

“The addition of the vessels brings our total fleet to eight ships of various different sizes.”

The naming ceremony was conducted by John Rix, chairman of J.R. Rix and Sons, along with managing director Tim Rix, and the traditional breaking of the champagne bottle was performed by the ship’s namesake, Lucinda Rix.

Addressing an audience of around 70 invited guests on William Wright Dock, Tim Rix said the ship represented a significant investment in the Humber area by the company.

He said: “We made a conscious decision to build this ship in East Yorkshire rather than abroad at an extra cost to us, because it has kept local people in work. That is very important to us – Rix is a local company and we take pride in investing in the Humber region.

“To see the ship in the water is a proud day for everyone. J.R. Rix and Sons will shortly be reaching its 140th birthday but events such as this show we continue to evolve and move forward.”

Speaking at the event, former Northern Food chairman Lord Haskins said that while the world continued to suffer from the fall out of the economic turbulence, the fortunes for Hull and Humber were looking increasingly bright due to the renewables industry.

He said: “The time has come for the Humber’s economy to go from strength to strength. Businesses like Rix, which have been here for generations, are in the best possible place to benefit from that.”

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