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In 1913, the shipbuilding firm of William Gray & Co. Ltd. started work building a new ship repair yard, Graythorp, on the north bank of the River Tees. The outbreak of the First World War and the 1920s Depression delayed the opening of the yard until 1924.
When the parent company went out of business in 1962, various attempts were made to keep the Graythorp yard in operation but with little success and in 1968 the yard closed. It was purchased and re-opened by Laing Offshore in 1972 for the fabrication of offshore structures. The yard remained open until 1989 when a lack of orders forced closure yet again.
In 1996, Able UK purchased the site for shipbreaking and marine recycling, most notably the dismantling of four U.S. "Ghost Fleet" ships in 2003 and the French aircraft carrier Clemenceau in 2009. The yard continues in operation today.

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