Setting sail with the Indonesian Navy
James Fisher Marine Services (JFMS) has been assisting with the upkeep, upgrade and preparation for sale of three offshore patrol vessels at Barrow since the summer of 2007. Now acquired by the Indonesian Navy, they need to be prepared for service.
The purchase of the vessels has meant a change of mission for the JFMS team to one of assisting the purchaser with all aspects of handover and commissioning, including training for a large number of resident navy personnel.
JFMS project manager Jonathan Cody explains:
“Since 2007 we have been responsible for ongoing maintenance and upgrade of the three vessels. We created a corvette organisation with a team of engineers, electricians and able seamen. As these vessels needed to be kept in tip-top condition we had to create a ship crew organisation capable of moving the vessels when necessary and also demonstrating them to prospective customers."
With the sale of the corvettes to the Indonesian Navy, the JFMS team had to move quickly to meet the needs of their new owners for effective handover and commissioning.
“We created a site from scratch, known as Woodbridge Haven. It’s a brown field site, directly opposite the corvette berth and we assembled a temporary ‘Portacabin’ village for all of the personnel all from Indonesia, as well as our own team and staff from the vessel brokerage. It includes office and living accommodation and both Halal and European dining facilities, a prayer room, showers and single cabins as well as site security. In addition, we have helped five officers who wished to bring their families with them, to secure rented accommodation within the town.”
United Nations of Barrow
The JFMS team recognised the importance of community cohesion, both in preparing the local population for the influx of visitors and also, as Jonathan explains, the Indonesian Navy personnel for their stay in the UK:
“We had the Cumbria Constabulary brief the Indonesian engineers on what they could expect when being here. It’s nothing fundamentally new, as Barrow has previously hosted teams from countries including Canada and Japan. It’s important though to make them as welcome as possible so that they can focus on the handover activities, for which we are all working to very tight timescales.”
As Jonathan concludes:
“JFMS has a well-deserved reputation in merchant shipping but with this project we have demonstrated our growing skill level and expertise in the defence sector. Warships such as these corvettes have sophisticated management and operating systems, they can go extremely fast, and they are assigned for naval work. It really shows the breadth of JFMS capabilities and our flexibility in adjusting our core skills to new challenges.”