A major feat of engineering has taken place as ALE transports and loadsout the “stern section” of the new polar research ship for Britain, the RRS Sir David Attenborough, by barge from Hebburn-based shipyard A&P Tyne (Newcastle), part of A&P Group, to the Cammell Laird’s shipyard in Birkenhead.
The new ship is a major UK Government investment in frontier science. Commissioned by NERC, and built by the world famous marine engineering company Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders Ltd. The vessel is a Rolls-Royce design, and will be operated by British Antarctic Survey when the ship enters service in 2019. The transportation of the 899t steel block (known as Block 10) – which is the equivalent weight of 71 London double decker buses, and more than 23m long and 24m wide– is a major engineering challenge and a significant milestone in the build.
It further capitalises on the broad commercial skills and infrastructure on the east and west coast of the UK and marks another significant milestone in the Cammell Laird construction programme. This ‘load-out’ operation is the outcome of a collaboration between Cammell Laird and A&P Group and a clear demonstration of the benefits that a flexible and co-ordinated effort brings to the construction of the RRS Sir David Attenborough and to the UK ship-building industry.
John Syvret CBE who is the CEO of both Cammell Laird and A&P Group said: “The construction of the blocks by the A&P Group, as a contractor to Cammell Laird, is a tremendous showcase for British shipbuilding and engineering. Whilst both organisations are fierce competitors who very much ‘compete where they must’, they also on an arm’s length commercial basis ‘cooperate where they can’.
“The RRS Sir David Attenborough ship build contract facilitates this cooperation where positive commercial benefits have been achieved. This is a business model that proved to be very successful in the building of Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers, where both organisations undertook the construction of circa 20,000 tonnes of large sections of flight deck modules for the two ships, and can be deployed and utilised on other contracts in the future.
He said: “We know there is huge passion in the entire Cammell Laird workforce, as well as in our supply chain and at A&P for this project. The project is progressing well and we would also like to thank the British Antarctic Survey and the Natural Environmental Research Council for their support. We very much look forward to an unforgettable slipway launch in 2018.”
Block 10 will be loaded onto a barge using self-propelled modular trailers. It is a complex operation involving hydraulic ballast pumps to keep the barge level while the heavy load moves onto it from the slipway. ALE is responsible for loading the stern section onto a barge.
John Davis, Senior Sales Manager for ALE, said: “ALE are extremely proud to be involved in such a landmark project. We are not only executing the heavy transportation and load-out for block 10, but have also specially designed the transport frame and sea fastenings.
“By providing the complex engineering, heavy transportation and barge services to move a piece of this sheer scale and size, showcases our full-service heavylifting capabilities.”