HMS Ocean has successfully completed her first phase of engineering sea trials following her multimillion pound refit.
A period of ‘running in’ and manoeuvres off the South West Coast has tested the Plymouth-based ship’s propulsion plant, auxiliary machinery and steering to the limit and saw her achieve speeds in excess of 20 knots, the fastest she has gone since she was built.
The refit was conducted in Devonport by Babcock and their staff were onboard throughout the trials supporting HMS Ocean’s marine engineers in testing, adjusting and fine tuning the ship’s engines.
Commander Shane Doran, the ship’s senior engineer, said: “There is a formidable amount to do when you bring a warship out of refit. That we have achieved so much in record time is down to the commitment and skill of the ship’s engineering technicians.”
Chief Petty Officer Engineering Technician Matt Christie and Petty Officer Engineering Technician Gemma Wollaston have been at the sharp end of the trials that have brought the ship back to life.
PO Wollaston said: “As section head I feel proud that we have successfully completed our sea trials. The whole team have put in a lot of long days and often longer nights, their dedication and sheer effort has been exceptional.’’
Matt said: “After an extended support period it feels good to have Ocean back at sea again. Setting the propulsion plant to work has been an arduous process but we have met the standards required and exceeded expectations.
“This was due to the hard graft of our engineers on board and the combined efforts of our industry partners, Babcock Marine and Man Diesels.”
HMS Ocean is the Royal Navy’s helicopter carrier and amphibious assault ship designed to deliver troops to the centre of the action by helicopter or by landing craft.
She can operate six helicopters from her flight deck with space in the hangar to hold, transport and maintain many more aircraft.
Ocean’s complement of 380 personnel includes 9 Assault Squadron Royal Marines, who operate four landing craft designed to carry vehicle and personnel to the front line ashore.
The 21,500-tonne ship was launched in 1995, has a top speed of 16 knots and a range of 8,000 miles.