Cornwall's marine businesses were given the royal seal of approval with a visit from The Duke of Kent. View pictures of the royal visit below

The Duke of Kent has visited the strategically and historically important Falmouth Wharves in Cornwall to see the growth of the county’s marine industry.

He heard how the site has been preserved as a deep-water hub of commercial maritime industries – after plans by a previous owner to develop a luxury hotel and apartments there were rejected.

The Wharves were “saved” when tenants Keynvor MorLift (KML) succeeded in buying the site, with essential financial support from the not-for-profit membership organisation, Cornwall Marine Network (CMN)

It manages the £1.85 million Cornwall Marine Capital Fund, which is funded by the Regional Growth Fund and is operated by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

Duke of Kent tours Cornwall's marine industry

The Duke of Kent meets apprentices Jonathan Rundle and Sam Robathan. Credit: Toby Weller

The key aim of this fund is to support capital project led activities enabling job creation and supporting the sustainable and long term growth of the marine sector.

The purchase of the Falmouth Wharves has safeguarded the existing employment of around 100 people and allowed KML to refurbish the site to become their headquarters, with the creation of 39 new jobs.

Keynvor MorLift, which means ocean sealift in Cornish, is a diversified marine contractor, providing barges, towage, salvage services, marine civil engineering and subsea installation for the offshore renewables sector, and vessel mobilisations.

The Duke of Kent’s first port of call yesterday (3 April) was Cornwall Marine Network’s Falmouth HQ before being taken on a guided tour of Falmouth Wharves by Keynvor MorLift’s managing director, Diccon Rogers.

“KML has particular strengths in marine civil engineering and marine renewable energy all around the UK,” explained Rogers.

“The Duke was particularly interested in our work in the Orkney Islands for Rolls Royce Energy – and here in Falmouth to see the heavy gradings of Cornish granite armour stone being exported from the Wharves to the vulnerable sections of coastal railway line and cliff in South Devon. He also asked many questions about the Oceanus wave energy converter device which we will be reinstalling on the Wave Hub off Hayle,” he added.

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The Duke of Kent also met marine apprentices working in boatbuilding and marine engineering through a scheme supported by Cornwall Marine Network, before unveiling a commemorative plaque in Keynvor MorLift’s newly refurbished headquarters.

Presidents of the RNLI since 1969, the Duke of Kent then boarded the Falmouth Lifeboat for a trip down river to visit volunteers and staff at Falmouth Lifeboat Station.

Duke of Kent tours Falmouth Wharves

The Duke of Kent tours Keynvor MorLift. Credit: Toby Weller

There, as well as meeting members of the lifeboat crews and some of the management group who help to run the station, he paid a visit to the shop and unveiled a plaque to commemorate 150 years of lifeboat operations at Falmouth.

The Duke of Kent later headed across to Mousehole where he officially opened the Solomon Browne Memorial Hall.

A refurbished pilchard store named after the Penlee lifeboat tragically lost in December 1981, the hall is a much needed community space and also provides a home for the famous Mousehole Harbour Lights.