7 Oct 2020

Cammell Laird has reported a strong 2020 despite the challenges of Covid-19 – with its construction hall, workshops and dry docks in continuous use since the start of the year.

Speaking about operating during a global pandemic, the CEO of Cammell Laird, David McGinley said: “Despite the restrictions and challenges of the last few months, the needs of our clients have not changed, and we have seen consistent demand for our engineering expertise and on-site facilities.

“The team has shown fortitude, commitment and agility throughout, which has been instrumental in keeping clients’ vessels operational and maintaining our reputation for engineering excellence.”

Projects of note during 2020 have included achieving a series of important milestones in the construction of RRS Sir David Attenborough – the research ship that will transform how ship-borne science is carried out in the Polar Regions.

Cammell Laird has tested and commissioned the vessel’s lifeboats and power systems and most recently, the water mist fire protection system. Work is now focused on readying the vessel for sea trials in October, which includes commissioning and testing the marine propulsion systems as well as checking the vessel’s scientific underwater sensors and deployment mechanisms.

Other notable projects include the ongoing transformation of unique cargo-passenger ship RMS St Helena, as she becomes a mobile hub for the Extreme Electric SUV racing series. Cammell Laird is also preparing for the start of the next ferry season, which will see the return of all four Calmac Ferries for their annual maintenance periods.

Focusing on Cammell Laird’s roster of defence work, the yard has welcomed the first of the Royal Navy’s Type 45 class of destroyer to Birkenhead. HMS Dauntless is undergoing her Power Improvement Programme (PIP), which will improve the resilience of the power and propulsion systems by replacing two diesel generators with three new systems and modifying the high voltage system.

Cammell Laird is also in the final stages of a 10-month programme of equipment upgrades and general repairs and maintenance for RFA Tidesurge, the third of the RFA Tideclass tankers, as part of a Through Life Support contract to maintain nine RFA vessels over the next 10 years.

Upgrades included the installation of four new 40m long exhaust systems, complete with new structural steel. A series of precision lifts were required to transfer the new exhaust system, including its 3.5 tonne silencers, into the engine room via the vessel’s funnel. The team is also upgrading the fire main (HPSW) and making improvements to the ballast water treatment system.

Parts of the vessel’s Azimuth bow thruster will also be replaced, the preparation for which involved digging a five-metre pit to accommodate the four-metre diameter thruster tunnel as it is removed prior to changing out the 5m main support tube. While in the dry dock, the sea valves, rudders and propellers will also be inspected and serviced.

The former Project Director for the RFA Tideclass tankers at Cammell Laird (now with Type 45 PIP), Tony Scaife said: “Working to the vessel’s design intent and using our learnings from the previous Tideclass vessels, we are delivering a complex programme of work to a very high standard. It’s testament to the depth of our experience and project management skills, as well as our relationship with the Ministry of Defence, that we are able to do that.”

RFA Tidesurge is expected to depart Cammell Laird in December before RFA Tideforce arrives in early 2021. Other ongoing defence projects include wave-class fast fleet tanker RFA Wave Knight, which is nearing the end of a £14m refit programme of upgrades, servicing and refits.

RFA Wave Knight arrived at Cammell Laird in March, following a six-month deployment in the Middle East and spent eight weeks in Cammell Laird’s Dry Dock number five, before being moved to the South Berth West Basin. The programme includes hull and tank surveys; service, inspection and repair of the mooring winches; renewal of the cargo tank PV valve pipework, refurbishment of the ABEAM RAS rig equipment; a repaint of the vessel’s hull and super structure and renewal of the flight deck coating.

During the last six months Cammell Laird has also bolstered its senior management team, with hires and appointments spanning operational, health, safety, environment and quality (HSEQ), procurement and commercial roles.

Linton Roberts, Cammell Laird's former Group Technical Director of Sales has been appointed as Director of Operations, while Kevin Peart, formerly Group HSEQ Director of A&P Group, has been appointed as Director of HSEQ for both Cammell Laird and Atlantic and Peninsular Marine Services. Former Head of Procurement, Jane Bryan assumes the role of Director of Procurement, Steve Gibney acts as Interim Director of HSEQ and Neil Harden joins as Director in the commercial team from MJ Quinn.