Cammell Laird Completes Biggest Ever Royal Fleet Auxiliary Refit

Birkenhead (Liverpool City Region UK) shipyard and marine engineering services provider Cammell Laird is completing a £49.5m refit of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Fort Victoria.

The massive 10-month refit is the biggest ever undertaken by the yard since it began its through life support ‘cluster’ contract to maintain nine of the 13 ships in the RFA flotilla in 2008. The RFA Fort Victoria is one of the largest vessels operated by the British Ministry of Defence and is at the forefront of British naval operations.

Defence Equipment & Support, Royal Fleet Auxiliary Commodore Ian Schumacker, said:

The refit of RFA Fort Victoria is a great example of what can be achieved through collaborative relationships developed within the cluster contract support model.

Cammell Laird chief executive John Syvret CBE said the company is pleased to see the refit completing to time and budget.

I congratulate the RFA and Cammell Laird cluster team for delivering such a good job so efficiently.

Cammell Laird managing director Linton Roberts said the refit has been the biggest single contract in the business in 2014.

It has seen more than 450 men work on it for nearly a year including apprentices.

The successful completion of such a complex and demanding refit will be testament to the pioneering benefits of clustering.

Cammell Laird project director Spencer Atkinson, who led the refit for Cammell Laird, said the extra preparation time provided under the cluster arrangement proved invaluable.

It is hard to underestimate the scale of this job,” he said. “It has certainly been the most challenging to date and required all the lessons we have learned working with the RFA under the cluster contract.

We did undertake a lot of planning, particularly around big jobs like the removal and replacement of six diesel generators which saw the ship cut open on both sides of the hull and then once the generators were installed the shell plating was then refitted and fully welded. We also pre-manufactured pipe work, steel work and ordered long lead time equipment well ahead of the start of the contract in January.

Atkinson said the main jobs included overhauling both main engines and a power generation upgrade which included major steelworks, new fuel and lubrication oil as well as freshwater and saltwater pipework and pump systems.

We also installed new sewage treatment plants, boilers and ballast water treatment plants using the very latest environmentally-friendly technology. The ship’s accommodation was refurbished and navigational systems were upgraded and overhauled.

Elsewhere we have installed a new incinerator and upgraded all crane ammunition handling equipment. We have also replaced the fire detection system throughout the vessel and installed a new local fire suppression system on the main engines, generators, incinerator and boiler. All the weapons and weapon systems have been overhauled.

In the extensive dry-docking that has been undertaken we have overhauled the main propulsion and steering systems. The drydock works included blasting and painting of the ballast and cargo tanks, as well as ultra high pressure blasting and painting the underwater hull and painting the superstructure, which included all her decks.

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Press release, Image: Cammell Laird