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Falkland Islands: Warships

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what recent assessment he has made of the performance of J.A.Gardner and Company in providing the Coastal Re-Supply Service in the Falkland Islands since 1982; (257017)

(2) for what reason the Royal Navy has declined to award a new Falkland Islands Coastal Re-Supply Service contract to J.A.Gardner and Company;

(3) whether the Royal Navy sent representatives to the Falkland Islands to assess the work of J.A.Gardner and Company in operating the Coastal Re-Supply Service before the decision not to renew the firm’s contract was taken.

The MOD currently operates two shipping contracts in the Falklands Islands: one with J and A Gardner who provide coastal re-supply services; and the other with Van Wijngaarden Marine Services B V, who carry out harbour support. Both companies provide a satisfactory service.

As the contracts with both companies are coming to an end, a decision has been made to merge both the coastal re-supply and harbour support services under one requirement rather than renew both contracts. This will deliver value for money for the taxpayer. In accordance with MOD and EU commercial regulations, the requirement was competed last year and both J and A Gardner and Van Wijngaarden submitted proposals along with a number of other companies. All the bids were evaluated on an equitable basis against declared technical and commercial evaluation criteria.

The tender evaluation panel was made up of MOD civilian personnel, some of whom visited the Falkland Islands on a number of occasions and who have, therefore, built up a good working knowledge of the requirement. The views of MOD personnel based on the Islands, who are responsible for the day to day operation of the service, were also obtained.

The contract was awarded to Van Wijngaarden, as theirs was the most technically advantageous and affordable proposal, on 23 January 2009 with service commencement on 1 April 2009.