Royal Navy’s Sandown-class minehunter HMS Shoreham has undergone an extensive refurbishment and maintenance programme carried out by Babcock in Rosyth.
The shipbuilder improved the vessel’s operational capability and carried out restoration work on the glass reinforced plastic (GRP) hull.
This work has been undertaken as part of Babcock’s contract with the Royal Navy to deliver the maintenance and upkeep of all seven Royal Navy Sandown class minehunters, which are base ported at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde on the west coast of Scotland.
Each of the ships are required to undergo a docking period every five years as part of the programme and HMS Shoreham returned to Babcock’s Rosyth facility in June after spending three years in the Persian Gulf.
According to Babcock, the ship has received a range of improvements and alterations including the refurbishment and installation of a new design to the galley and the installation of a new fire detection system and improving the high pressure air system to meet capability requirements.
The upper deck was also painted due to the vessel having been exposed to a hostile environment in the heat and humidity of the Gulf.
Commodore Jim Higham, head of the warship support team at Defence Equipment and Support said: “Maintaining the UK’s minehunting fleet is a vitally important job in support of the Royal Navy’s mission to safeguard our national interests at home and around the world.
“I’m delighted that HMS Shoreham is in a much improved material state and ready to make a welcome return to the Fleet thanks to the strong partnerships which exist across DE&S, the Royal Navy and our valued industry partners.”
One of the major challenges during the restoration work was the ship’s fiberglass hull.
“With a fibreglass ship, like the fleet of Sandown class minehunters, maintaining sections of the hull take time and precision. The hull is approximately 25mm thick and consists of many layers of glass cloth impregnated with resin,” Babcock project manager Dave Gibb explained. “Our tradesmen would work in small steps, first cutting out, then layering each section with the fiberglass cloth. It’s not a skill you see very often as most ships are made of steel.”
Up to 80 people from Babcock have worked on HMS Shoreham every week during the completion of the work.
Now the refurbishment and maintenance programme is complete and the vessel has passed its ‘ready for sea inspection’, HMS Shoreham is ready to return to the fleet in January.
Following HMS Shoreham’s departure, HMS Grimsby will arrive in Rosyth for the refurbishment and maintenance programme next June, then HMS Penzance will arrive in May 2018.