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Falmouth: the UK’s fourth naval base
Tuesday, 03 March 2015 00:00

Although built overseas, the Tide class is a British design and will be fitted out in the UK. BMT Defence ServicesAlthough built overseas, the Tide class is a British design and will be fitted out in the UK. BMT Defence ServicesThe A&P Group has been awarded a major MoD contract, worth an initial £15 million, to customise and support four new replenishment tankers for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The Tide class tankers are currently under construction in South Korea, with the first due to enter service in 2016.

A&P Falmouth will complete their fit-out and also provide through-life support to all four ships in service for a minimum of three years. The work will include equipping the basic hulls with communications systems and ballistic protection, and preparation work for the rapid fit of self-defence weapons.

RFA Tidespring is due to arrive in the UK in December 2015, to be followed by the others – RFA Tiderace, RFA Tidesurge and RFA Tideforce – at six-monthly intervals. They will replace the remaining Leaf and Rover class tankers.

The 37,000-tonnes ships are the first stage of the MoD’s Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) project to update the RFA’s current fleet of support ships that provide fuel and stores to the RN anywhere in the world. A&P already has a contract to support and maintain RFA ships, RFA Argus and the RFA Bay class vessels, at home and abroad until 2018. GD

 
Major refit at Damen
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 00:00

Saga Sapphire in the Damen Shipyard. Damen ShipyardSaga Sapphire in the Damen Shipyard. Damen ShipyardOn 19 December Damen Shiprepair in Rotterdam redelivered Saga Sapphire after her major refit, including the replacement of the ship’s two sewage plants, a job that involved cutting through the hull.

In addition, the vessel’s freshwater tanks were sand-blasted and repainted, but with around 425 people, including members of the ship’s crew, living on board, arrangements had to be made to supply fresh water and remove grey water. Deck steelwork, lifeboats and davits also received attention, as did piping, electrical and hydraulic systems. The 37,000 ton Saga Sapphire sailed on schedule for her Christmas Canary Islands cruise. WM

 
Hoegh Osaka salvaged from the Solent
Wednesday, 18 February 2015 00:00

Hoegh Osaka being towed into Southampton on 22 January, seen from the Isle of Wight ferry. Chris BrooksHoegh Osaka being towed into Southampton on 22 January, seen from the Isle of Wight ferry. Chris BrooksThe vehicle carrier Hoegh Osaka was berthed safely in Southampton on 22 January following a 19-day salvage operation. Hoegh Osaka was deliberately put aground on the Bramble Bank between Calshot and Cowes after developing a severe list shortly after leaving Southampton, a decision made by the pilot and the ship’s master to save the vessel and her crew. With the ship aground and listing 52 degrees, the crew were taken off without injury by rescue helicopter.

Svitzer Salvage was contracted to carry out the salvage operation, and tugs were immediately engaged from Solent Towage and Svitzer. Initially, the ship was held in position on the Bramble Bank by the tugs while the situation was evaluated.

On 7 January the ship floated free from the sandbank and was towed to the Alpha deepwater anchorage, east of Cowes. Access to the ship and working conditions on board were very difficult due to the severe list. Pumps were put aboard by helicopter, and work started to remove 3,000 tonnes of water from the car deck and provide a means of controlling the water ballast. The list was eventually reduced to below the 15 degrees required for the tow to Southampton.   

 
First China ro-pax ferry
Wednesday, 18 February 2015 00:00

First China ro-pax ferry First China ro-pax ferry China’s Bohai Shipyard has completed the ro-pax ferry San Sha 1 Hao for service between China’s Port of Qinglan, located in Hainan Province, and Yongxing Island, where she will reduce the sailing time between the two ports from 15 to ten hours compared to the existing ferry, Qiongsha No.3. She was placed in service on 1 January.

Denmark’s Knud E. Hansen was responsible for designing the vessel’s hull lines, as well as the steel structure and the outfitting of machinery. Measuring 122.3m by 21m, the new ship has a displacement of 7,800 tons, an endurance of 6,000 nautical miles, and can accommodate up to 456 passengers and 20 standard trailers.

The vessel has been developed with optimised work flow in mind, which will allow maximum operational efficiency, including boat-to-boat embarkation procedures which are required in those islands which do not have dedicated berthing facilities. JS

 
Sea Wind switches route
Tuesday, 03 February 2015 00:00

The ro-ro ferry Sea Wind berthed at Turku, Finland. John PagniThe ro-ro ferry Sea Wind berthed at Turku, Finland. John Pagni

Estonian shipper Tallink moved its ro-ro vessel Sea Wind from her current Turku-Långnäs-Stockholm route to the growing Finland-Estonia service on 8 January. Tallink said its cruise ferries, Galaxy and Baltic Princess, have capacity to meet demand from Finland’s west coast city to the Swedish capital, and both call in at Åland on their twice-daily crossover sailings at Mariehamn (daytime) and Långnäs (at night).

Sea Wind was built in Helsingør, Denmark, in 1972 and is the last of three ro-ro ships that sailed under the Seawind Line established in 1998 by Silja Line as its rail-wheeled cargo service. Star Wind was sold in 2005 and Sky Wind in 2007 as rail traffic fell. Sea Wind stopped carrying rail freight in 2010 and passengers two years earlier, when Seawind Line was merged into Tallink.

Now Sea Wind will sail from Helsinki’s Vuosaari Harbour to Tallinn’s Old City Harbour, making the return crossing twice a day, taking 3½ hours. The 15,587gt Sea Wind has capacity for up to 1,000 lane metres and can take 119 drivers, with accommodation for 98 in cabins. Her four MaK 8M453AK diesel engines produce up to 7.36Mw. JP

 

 
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