In 1973 Swan Hunter Shipbuilders acquired Palmers Dock at Hebburn from Vickers Ltd. and between then and 1976 developed an entirely new shipbuilding complex named Hebburn Shipbuilding Dock. The numbers employed in the Tyne shipyards of Swan Hunter Shipbuilders was approximately 11,500 and a wide variety of ship types were built by them, including cargo vessels, bulk carriers, crude oil tankers and container ships of all sizes. They also built Naval ships of varying types for the Ministry of Defence as well as fleet replenishment ships for British or foreign ownership. In the 5 years prior to nationalisation almost £16M was spent on modernising the yards owned by the Company, including the cost of developing the new Hebburn Shipbuilding Dock.
On 1st July 1977 Swan Hunter Shipbuilders Ltd. came under national ownership when in terms of the Aircraft & Shipbuilding Industries Act it became a member of the new Corporation named British Shipbuilders. The shipyards for which the operating company Swan Hunter Shipbuilders Ltd. was made responsible to the Corporation were Wallsend Shipyard, Neptune Shipyard, Walker Shipyard, Hebburn Shipyard and Hebburn Shipbuilding Dock.
At Hebburn Shipyard, No. 1 berth and some shop facilities would be integrated with the Hebburn Shipbuilding Dock facility. The remainder of Hebburn Yard would cease shipbuilding operation to become the base for a new training shipyard school for the North East of England.
At Walker Shipyard construction of ships would cease, but the yard facilities would be developed to establish this shipyard as an outfitting base for ships that would be transferred from the remaining three shipyards. The remainder of the shipyard at Walker would be put on care and maintenance basis. Swan Hunter Shipbuilders Ltd. then consisted of the four shipyards on the Tyne; Wallsend Shipyard, Neptune Shipyard, Hebburn Shipbuilding Complex and Walker Shipyard.