Jul 16 - Time for re-fit
Noon Position : C Lock, Portsmouth Naval Base
Air temperature @ noon today : 20.2 ° C
Sea temperature @ noon today : ° C
Wind: Light airs
Barometer: 1018.2 hPa
With no time to recover from the International Festival of the Seas, the ship carried on with refit work, doing those jobs that could be completed whilst still afloat.
On Tuesday 12th July, following an early morning inspection of the dry-dock (which was then flooded), the ship was maneuvered into C Lock at Portsmouth Naval Base. Two tugs, Powerful up forward and Bustler down aft, provided the propulsion. The move took less than three quarters of an hour. Once in the lock the ship was pulled into position using ropes and then finally, using wires and tirfors, we were placed exactly in the right place so that when the docking-down (removal of the water from the dock) took place we would be sitting correctly on the blocks that had be accurately placed on the dock bottom.
The pumping out of the dry-dock started at 0930 on Wednesday 13th July. Two large pumps are used to empty the dock, and at 1155 the ship settled onto the blocks. By 1430 it was possible to go down to the dock bottom, and the first inspection was carried out by the Senior Officers and representatives from Fleet Support Ltd (who are carrying out the refit for the British Antarctic Survey).
This year the ship is sitting much higher than normal, being some 2.9m off the dock bottom. This is because one of the jobs to be carried out during this refit is to fit a new acoustic reference system, part of which is a retractable pole, and this amount of head room is required to get the unit in. A hole will have to be cut into the hull to allow this to be done. More on this as it happens over the coming weeks.
A view of the Transducer Room. Many of the ships transducers are located in this room, and work will be carried out in here to fit the new acoustic reference system transducer and pole. Photo M.Gloistein
Once the inspection is completed and all is deemed to be fine, the initial work can start. This is normally the washing down of the hull, to remove any growth that has attached itself to the ship. Once this is completed then work can start on preparing the hull for repairs to the epoxy paint coating.
Another task to be carried out this refit is the removal of the propeller (13.5 Tonne), the rudder (12 Tonne) and the propeller tail shaft (19 tonne). All of this items are large and heavy, and before this work can start much in the way of preparing for it has to be carried out, including the welding onto the hull of lifting points - strong enough to take the weight of these individual items.
Access to the echo sounders already fitted is now possible, and another task during the refit period is to check the condition of the various transducers that are mounted on the bottom of the ship. During the next few weeks a number of the covers that protect these transducers will be removed to allow inspection and replacement of faulty units.
The 'window' that protects the Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler is being removed. A new transducer is to be fitted during this refit. Also shown in the foreground is the transducer head for our Furuno fish finding echo sounder. This unit is on a pole that is dropped down through the hull when the equipment is in use. Photo M.Gloistein
The refit will continue for several weeks to come and I hope to be updating this page next week.