Around 56 Devizes employees are looking for work just a couple of weeks before Christmas after a marine survey company went into administration.

Geotechnical Engineering and Marine Surveys Limited, or Gems, ceased trading last week after Zelf Hussain, Rob Hunt and Rob Lewis of Price Waterhouse Coopers were appointed administrators.

Out of the 80 employees at the Devizes office in Gains Lane, 56 were made redundant, the remainder being moved to Bath. Valuers have moved into the office with a view to selling the assets.

The Gems group is an international geotechnical engineering and marine survey group working primarily offshore.

The administrators said that the culmination of several issues led to it being placed into administration, predominantly the loss of major contracts. Out of 144 people employed in Bath, Devizes, Gravesend and Middlesbrough, 132 have been made redundant.

Mr Hussain said: “Regretfully, without financial support to overcome the group’s operational issues, we have had to make the majority of the workforce redundant with immediate effect.

“Our immediate priority now is to repatriate employees that are overseas and then to find homes for the remaining contracts. We encourage any interested parties to contact us as a matter of urgency.”