Student from Hythe Primary chosen to Name ABP’s New Workboat

Students from Hythe Primary School attended ABP Southampton’s official naming ceremony at Seawork Students from Hythe Primary School attended ABP Southampton’s official naming ceremony at Seawork

On Wednesday afternoon at Seawork International, Students from Hythe Primary School attended ABP Southampton’s official naming ceremony for the new 15m Meercat Workboat, presided over by Southampton’s Port Chaplain, John Attenborough from The Mission to Seafarers.

The winning name chosen by ABP, Southampton was from Kennedy Anthony, age 9, at Hythe Primary, who selected the name ‘Spartina’.  Kennedy explained, “The marshes near Meercat Workboats in Hythe are called Spartina Marshes, so I thought it would be a good name for Southampton Port’s new workboat.”

Port Chaplain, John Attenborough, from the Mission to Seafarers, commented during his address: “For as long as ships have been built, they’ve been ceremoniously blessed in one way or another. Wine, water and whiskey have been used to christen them.”

When Harbour Master Captain Martin Phipps asked the children of Hythe to come up with a name for the workboat he was overwhelmed by the response. Youngsters from Hythe Primary School and Waterside Primary School enthusiastically took part in the competition.

He comments: “We had over 100 entries and some of the names put forward were very inventive.

We liked Kennedy’s choice because it continues the link with the place where the workboat was built”

Asked how she will feel seeing the boat she named out on the water in years to come, Kennedy commented: “It will be really nice to know I named a boat when I was younger – it will be something to look back on.”

It’s about 30-years since a new workboat was commissioned by the port and she will play a vital role in the safe operation of the port.

Captain Phipps, commented: “It’s really important to us that a local company based in Hythe is building our workboat and when she comes into service, this vessel will play an important role keeping the Port of Southampton open and safe for all our maritime users”.Having a local youngster name our boat will make it even more special – and we can’t wait to see the ideas they come up with”.

Jason Coltman, Managing Director at Meercat Workboats, commented: “It is fantastic for us to work with ABP and with the local schools in Hythe, pupils have come into our workshops and watched this boat being built, and it’s great to be able to talk to 8 and 9 year olds about apprenticeships and careers in boat building. We have built up a great relationship with the local primary schools and have invited them to visit again for future build projects”.

“We often build for international customers, so it is phenomenal to build a boat for our local port and it allows us to show our potential customers one of our boats in action, here in Southampton”.

He continued, “This year Seawork has been marvellous for us with ABP naming the boat here today, the timing has been perfect.  We have had many serious enquires for new builds over the last couple of days and our hoping to seal the deal on a new project tomorrow.”

Check out the video of the ceremony here

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