Babcock has secured a £10million contract from the UK MoD to support the country’s only oceanographic survey vessel, HMS Scott, for the next five years.
The through-life support contract began on 4 May and there are options for a further five years to be decided in 2018 when the current contract nears completion.
Under the five year deal, Babcock will provide full maintenance and support for the vessel from its facility in Devonport and improve the availability of the ship for operations.
‘HMS Scott already has a high sea to port ratio, so days at sea will remain largely unchanged. There will be a focus on improving availability of equipment and hence the vessel's time and capability on task while at sea,’ a spokesperson from Babcock told Shephard.
The contract stabilises support arrangements for the ship long term and with all of its services from one location there is scope to improve availability.
‘HMS Scott has been base ported in Devonport and supported in Fleet Time throughout her life by Babcock, so as far as the ship is concerned it will be very much business as usual with the added bonus of the upkeep in her home port and all the advantages of the continuity that will bring,’ the spokesperson said.
Fleet Time Support Periods are when the ship will come in for scheduled maintenance twice a year for three weeks. During this time routine maintenance will be carried out, defects rectified and some enhancements provided to equipment and fittings.
Scott is scheduled for deep refit maintenance package later this year that will include a docking and a full strip of the external hull; overhaul or replacement of underwater valves; an overhaul of the main engine; replacement of the generator; improvements to grey and black water treatments; plus some planned updates for the survey equipment.
‘This is an important contract for Babcock in continuing to develop its ship support business,’ the spokesperson said.
Built by Appledore Shipbuilders in Bideford, Scott displaces 13,500t and was commissioned in June 1998. The ship has an ice-strengthened bow and it fitted with sonar equipment and a multi-beam depth sounder to support its oceanographic mission.
Scott was deployed to the Antarctic in 2009-11 as an ice patrol ship to replace HMS Endurance – the RN’s Antarctic survey ship – after the latter foundered off the Chilean coast in December 2008.
Endurance is docked in Portsmouth awaiting a decision on her future. In the meantime, the MoD leased MV Polarbjørn, a Norwegian ice patrol ship – renamed HMS Protector – in 2011 for an initial period of three years to provide the Royal Navy with an ice-capable vessel in the South Atlantic.