HMS Clyde docks for maintenance

HMS Clyde entering the dry dock. Photo: Royal Navy

Royal Navy patrol vessel HMS Clyde recently entered the dry dock for her fist dry-docking period in five years.

The patrol ship has been almost constantly on duty in and around the Falkland Islands since her last overhaul in 2011.

Those patrols have taken their toll of the hull and machinery inside, so the ship made the 4,000-mile crossing of the South Atlantic to Simon’s Town in South Africa.

The Falklands’ permanent guardship crossed the Southern Ocean to undergo a comprehensive overhaul after a five-year battering from the elements.

The passage took the patrol ship past the most remote of Britain’s South Atlantic territories, Tristan da Cunha, which rises spectacularly out of the endless ocean rather like Skull Island in King Kong and is home to home to one volcano (Queen Mary’s Peak) and just 265 people.

Once in Simon’s Town, home of the South African Navy, Clyde was manoeuvred into dry dock where divers made sure she lined up with large blocks on the dock floor used to support the ship once the water was pumped out.

There is no dry dock facility in the Falklands, so there are five years’ worth of algae and marine growth to remove from the hull; it creates ‘drag’ in the water, reducing the ship’s top speed of 20kts.

Clyde will also have maintenance work carried out on her upper deck and a host of engineering systems to ensure that she is ready for operations.

While Clyde is undergoing maintenance, her place is being taken around the Falklands by survey ship HMS Enterprise which, in addition to providing reassurance to the islands’ residents, is updating charts used by seafarers.

 

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