One might argue HMS Scott is the most important Royal Navy ship no one has ever heard about
Babcock has begun a seven month docking period for HMS Scott, the Royal Navy’s only ocean survey vessel – the first refit to be undertaken under the HMS Scott through life support (TLS) contract awarded to Babcock earlier this year.
Under the five year TLS contract, with the option to extend for a further five years, Babcock also provides fleet time maintenance, design services and spares management. The contract is delivered through a collaborative arrangement between MoD and Devonport-based ‘Scott Support Team’ comprising representatives from Babcock and Market Facing Category contractors (MFCs)
The docking period will see HMS Scott receive a number of upgrades and improvements that will significantly improve her sustainability and capability. These include fitting a new sewage treatment plant and two new lifeboat davits, as well as a new uninterrupted power supply to the ship’s sonar suite and installing new sea chests and strainers to the salt water system.
Additionally, a programme of deep maintenance will be carried out, including overhaul of over five hundred valves, two diesel engines, various motors, pumps and compressors as well as the rudder, propeller and shaft. A full structural survey will identify any repair work required and additional surveys will be carried out on more than a kilometre of ballast system pipework. A large paint package will also be undertaken, including preservation of the whole outer bottom, ship sides, all decks, super structure and over twelve thousand square meters in tanks.
Preservation of the entire hull in a new foul release coating (which will increase the ship’s fuel efficiency, reducing through life costs) will require removal of the 96 dock blocks on which the ship sits in dock – a considerable undertaking and the first time this has been done in such a short refit period. To achieve this Babcock has designed a new hydraulically-operated dock block that makes this complicated task and traditionally labour intensive and hazardous method of block removal significantly safer and quicker.
Other safety and process improvements at Devonport introduced by Babcock include improved working at height arrangements and a new suite of mechanical and electrical tag out equipment. HMS Scott will also be the first ship to trial a new tank access control process and a new plasma cutter for insert work.
Babcock’s HMS Scott Project Manager, Mo Morey, said: “In delivering this project Babcock, as an integral part of the Scott Support Team, will be drawing on our extensive experience of warship deep maintenance, to deliver HMS Scott safely, to quality, on-schedule, and at optimum value for money.”
He continued: “The refit will be challenging as HMS Scott is a unique vessel built to commercial standards. We have taken a proactive approach, utilising our fleet time experience of the platform and undertaking extensive surveys of the vessel prior to the refit period to understand her material state and identify and mitigate downstream risks to the project. We look forward to working closely with the MoD and ship’s staff to ensure successful completion of the first refit of HMS Scott’s through life support arrangements.”
DE&S Commercially Supported Shipping, Capt (RFA) Ian Schumacker, said: “This is going to be Babcock’s first refit of HMS Scott using commercial refit methodology. It will be a challenge, but one I am sure Babcock will rise to.”