Spring 2020

MoD refuelling mission

It has been an exciting few months for James Fisher Shipping Services (JFSS), as the team conducted a complex but successful refuelling of the Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the Prince of Wales; a dry dock overhaul for oil tanker the Raleigh Fisher, and a 5,000-hour safety award for another tanker in the fleet, the Shannon Fisher.

Last year, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) asked JFSS to help refuel massive aircraft carriers undergoing sea trials prior to commissioning. The design of the 284m-long carrier’s hull meant a refuelling vessel would not be able to come alongside, so the JFSS team had to find a suitable port that could accommodate both vessels and also allow 400m of fuel hose to be laid on the quayside. 

‘We chose Invergordon [in the Scottish Highlands] because of its secluded nature and the facilities available,’ says James Rowland-Smith, head of offshore. The James Fisher vessel, Sarnia Cherie was selected for the job. ‘Security precautions meant the crew had to be UK passport holders but we were fortunate to be able to use the same crew that had undertaken the first refuelling of HMS Queen Elizabeth, at the same port in 2017.’

As the work was nearing completion, the team received a surprise visit in the early hours of the morning by a member of the MoD project team, who asked if there was extra fuel to allow the Prince of Wales to complete full speed trials.

‘We liaised with the port and managed to formulate a plan to load from the terminal into the Sarnia Cherie’s tanks, then use our larger capacity pumps to transfer the fuel onto the Prince of Wales,’ says James, ‘The process was slow, but effective and completed to the highest satisfaction of the Prince of Wales team.’

As a bonus, the crew of the Sarnia Cherie received a guided tour of this impressive, state-of-the-art carrier.

In November 2019, Raleigh Fisher, which is the latest addition to the James Fisher fleet, underwent a thorough inspection and overhaul in dry dock in the North East of England.

JFSS fleet manager Mark Armistead says:

‘Particular attention was given to safety and environmentally-sensitive elements of the ship’s operation and close-up inspection of steel works was completed in the difficult to access cargo tanks using rope access and drones.’

The underwater areas were coated with a self-polishing and anti-fouling paint to aid fuel efficiency and the vessel colours updated to those of the James Fisher fleet, ready for the Raleigh Fisher’s winter voyage to the Falkland Islands (as mentioned in the Winter 2019 edition of the Pelican).

The Shannon Fisher has received a prestigious safety award in recognition of achieving 5,000 days without a recorded lost time incident. This is a fantastic achievement for a vessel that trades in challenging conditions, and a crew that has to endure the extreme conditions of the Northern European winter. 

Fendercare helps MoD carrier weather the storm

The Royal Navy’s £3.1bn aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, weathered the 70mph winds of Storm Jorge in February thanks to Fendercare Marine, which provided secure protection (all mooring and towing equipment, plus anchors and chains) for the 280m-long vessel during her stay at Liverpool’s historic waterfront. James Fisher Shipping Services also conducted a successful refuelling for the vessel last year.

Fendercare

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