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News - 23/01/17

KMS helps Portsmouth prepare for new aircraft carriers

Our Kingston Marine Services (KMS) team from East Cowes has recently been involved in preparations at Portsmouth ahead of the arrival of Britain’s new aircraft carriers, the largest and most powerful warships ever built for the Royal Navy.

KMS was contracted by Island company MMC Diving Services to work alongside technical and dive teams on the new navigation lights that will guide the aircraft carriers Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales safely into Portsmouth Harbour. These lights are powered by a combination of solar panels and batteries and will only be lit when the carriers are either approaching or leaving their berths at Portsmouth. 

Our steel workboat Seamark was contracted by MMC to transport technicians from Portsmouth quayside to the 30-metre high steel piles, to give access to the ladders to climb up to work on the sector lights. Seamark was then utilised as a target whilst the lights were being aligned.

Seamark’s stability as a working platform and transfer vessel during the initial sighting contract lead to an extension of the charter to facilitate the final repairs and touch up of the paintwork before final inspection.

Slideshow: Kingston Marine Services afloat team with Seamark and Seaclear at work in Portsmouth Harbour on the navigation lights for the new Queen Elizabeth Class carrriers

Our 16-metre multi-cat vessel Seaclear was also used to provide logistic and personnel support to MMC’s dive team, who were engaged in securing chandelier anodes around the base of the light piles. The anodes themselves were lifted into position by our 30 t/m deck crane, and transferred over to the dive team to position precisely and be welded, underwater, to the piles.

Barney Sollars, Kingston Marine Services Manager said: “The capabilities of our KMS vessels were really highlighted during this project in Portsmouth Harbour, and this along with the skills and flexibility of our team made it possible to deliver in the busy commercial and Naval environment of Portsmouth Harbour. The contracts to work on the aircraft carrier navigation lights came about from our long-standing association with MMC and we look forward to continuing the well-proven working relationship.”

Director of MMC, Sam Connelly, added: “With almost every commercial diving company in the UK competing for this tender we felt very privileged to have been awarded the contract. The decision to ask Kingston Marine Services – over the many barge companies within the Solent – was easy, as we have worked closely with KMS for many years on a variety of complicated projects. They are adaptable, safe and we know the team are cross trained watermen, vessel operators, riggers, confined space trained and divers, whom always have the safety of our teams as their main priority. The success of this project – with the help of KMS – has opened up some exciting new doors, so watch this space!”

The HMS Queen Elizabeth is due to leave Rosyth Dockyard, Scotland for sea trials in the coming months and should arrive at Portsmouth Harbour in late spring. At 280m, the Queen Elizabeth is longer than the Houses of Parliament (265m) – and its length is greater than the height of the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth (170m).

Video: The Kingston Marine Services vessel Seaclear was used to provide logistic and personnel support to MMC’s dive team – this footage shows Seaclear’s new dive ladder in use