Babcock has successfully trialled a new system for Fleet Time maintenance activities, geared to reducing the burden on ship’s staff (particularly valuable for lean-manned ships) and ensuring optimum safety.
The five week trial was undertaken on Type 23 frigate HMS Northumberland during her recent Fleet Time Support Period (FTSP), and is now being considered for wider roll-out.
The trial involved a new Safe Systems of Work control system, which saw Babcock take on elements of the role traditionally undertaken by the ship’s staff. Because the ship is under military control during Fleet Time, maintenance carried out on a live system requires the ship’s system operators to be there to control and monitor the work. Under the new approach, a dedicated Babcock platform safety co-ordinator and team takes the role of ‘trusted agent’ to the ship’s Commanding Officer (CO) to run mechanical and electrical system isolation, carrying out aspects such as permits to work, ship hazard safety control, and access control to the ship. The care, protection and security of the ship remains the responsibility of the CO.
Babcock Surface Ship Support Transformation Manager Andy Correy highlights improved safety control and maintenance planning, and freeing up the crew to focus on other important activities, as key benefits of the new approach.
The new approach has been proven to be successful on HMS Northumberland, achieving the trial’s aims and anticipated benefits.