Babcock has successfully competed the first UK Border Agency vessel refit under a five year support contract won by the company earlier this year.
Babcock was awarded the contract by the UK Border Agency in June 2011, to provide through-life maintenance and support for the Agency’s fleet of five patrol boats (known as ‘cutters’); Sentinel, Searcher, Seeker, Vigilant and Valiant. Under the contract each ship will undergo a docking period every two years and annual Life Saving Appliances (LSA) periods, taking one week, alongside.
The first docking period under this contract was recently completed by Babcock on HM Cutter Sentinel, the oldest of the fleet (commissioned in 1993), at the company’s Rosyth dockyard. This one month docking period included overhaul of both main engines; removal of the bow thrust system for overhaul; removal of both shafts and renewal of the shaft bearings; renewal of the machinery control system; upgrade of the fire alarm system; removal, inspection and testing of life saving equipment; structural survey including repairs; and painting of the entire vessel. Sentinel is now undergoing a period of basin and sea trials before returning to operational duty.
Babcock Operations Manager Charlie Forrester commented: “Babcock is known for its work with the MoD and Royal Navy on the UK’s warships, and we are delighted to have been able to apply our considerable experience in through-life support and maintenance of surface ships to successfully complete the first refit under this new contract for the UK Border Agency. The successful undertaking of the Sentinel docking period shows that Babcock at Rosyth has the skillsets and facilities required to work in the commercial environment and meet the customer’s timescales whilst managing the additional growth.”
Doug McLellan, Assistant Director, UK Border Agency Maritime & Aviation Operations, said: “This is our first refit package under our new contract with Babcock and the outcome bodes very well for the future. Although our cutters are smaller than most of the ships Babcock is used to working with, they present many challenges not least of which is the very short period available for the yard to complete a comprehensive package of work. Babcock has risen to these challenges returning HMC Sentinel to service on time and in very good order and their flexible and willing approach has drawn favourable feedback from our crews.”