(Alliance News) - Harland & Wolff Group Holdings PLC on Wednesday said it has signed a deal with Austal Ships Pty Ltd for technology transfer for the development of next-generation aluminium vessels.

The London-based fabrication company, which serves the maritime and offshore industries from yards in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, said the memorandum of understanding will see Austal share its designs for next-generation aluminium patrol vessels, as well as technology transfer from Austal, which will include specialist manufacturing knowledge.

The firm said the deal also includes equipment procurement and supply chain management for aluminium vessels.

Harland & Wolff said it will build the vessels at its Appledore facility in Devon.

The company, alongside Austal, said it has identified aluminium vessel contract opportunities in the UK market and will be working jointly on these opportunities once the deal has been executed. It said the MoU is expected to "significantly enhance" its ability to win the aluminium vessel contracts.

Harland & Wolff said both the government and private sector have issued tenders for lightweight and high-speed aluminium vessel contracts.

Chief Executive John Wood said: "I am delighted to have signed this MoU with Austal, a global leader in the aluminium vessel market. As we embark on the next phase of the Company's growth and development, we will be partnering with Austal not only for the transfer of technology to build aluminium vessels but to also join hands with them when bidding for contracts.

"Austal's skills and decades of experience in the aluminium build space are second to none and I look forward to working closely with them to build the next-generation shipyard capability for aluminium vessels in the UK."

Harland & Wolff shares rose 1.0% to 14.65 pence each on Wednesday afternoon in London.

By Harvey Dorset, Alliance News reporter

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