The Royal Navy’s amphibious warship HMS Albion moved from her temporary home inside the dockyard walls at HMNB Devonport, Plymouth, to her new tidal berth on the river on Tuesday (21 March 2017).
Repositioning HMS Albion onto her tidal berth marks a significant milestone in her regeneration schedule. Since 2011, the ship has been alongside in Devonport at extended readiness, with the past two years undertaking a major refit.
The Captain of HMS Albion, Captain Tim Neild, said, “It’s great to see HMS Albion back on her tidal berth and marks a significant milestone in the refit project.
“We are on track to complete the project by the summer – a testament to the hard work and professional pride poured in to the ship by a combined Royal Navy, Babcock and DE&S team effort.”
Re-floated in May 2016, the ship was towed to the largest non-tidal basin to commence testing and re-commissioning of her own power systems at the same time the crew rejoined in newly refurbished accommodation in January.
This morning HMS Albion was effectively placed under sailing orders-for the first time in six years. Moving a 20,000 tonne, 176m long and 36m wide warship in a very confined basin adjacent to several very large dry docks is a complex evolution, conducted carefully and methodically.
It took six powerful tugs and several hours to line her up ready to slip through the narrow dock gate. The exit is narrow with only four metres margin for error and the whole move had to be complete in less than one hour while the tide was still slack.
Babcock Warships Director Stuart Leonard said, “Moving HMS Albion from the basin to her new home on the tidal berth marks another significant milestone in her refit.
“The move follows the successful completion of an extensive trials period culminating in the commissioning of the ship’s main engines. Our dedicated and committed joint Babcock and Royal Navy team will now focus on the final preparations for the ship to go back into service in the summer.”
HMS Albion is now on a jetty in Devonport where final preparations for going to sea can be completed.
Tests of HMS Albion’s propulsion systems and numerous other support systems, such as the new Phalanx Close-In Weapon System will commence in anticipation of the ship returning to sea in the summer to start a busy and complex time of sea trials and operational training ahead of rejoining the fleet for operational service in 2018.