In early March 2022 KBS Maritime colleagues successfully completed the load in of HMS Ledbury to Ship Hall B utilising the MoD’s recently procured Jack-up Barge (JUB); previously this asset has been hired in from Ravestein. Many of our KBS Maritime teams were involved in both the procurement and inaugural operation – so a big thank you to all involved.
The JUB is essentially a huge hydraulic platform, designed and built to launch heavy structures such as warships or concrete structures from the quay into the water and vice versa. It can also be used as a movable dry-dock or transport pontoon. The 4 leg jacking systems are manufactured with a heavy duty pinning system, with lifting and lowering / locking and un-locking carried out completely hydraulically from a control panel located in the control cabin; this is considered much safer as you work above the waterline and it is always 100% horizontal on its spud legs.
The load in activity essentially consisted of the JUB entering into 3 Basin, the spud legs lowered into 4 pre-existing leg locations in the basin floor, before pre-load tested each leg to over 1000 tonnes; this ensures the platform is stable and will be able to take the full weight of the load. Once pre-load is complete a link span bridge is positioned to allow heavy plant access and dock preparation can be created on board with dock blocks being loaded, welded and a cradle to capture the ship loaded on to the dock prep. Once all preparations are completed the barge is lowered to and the ship is floated over the prep, positioned and captured in the cradle prior to the lift clear of the water. Self-Propelled Movement Transporters (SPMTs), which, in the most basic term, are the largest remote control toys you will ever come across, lift up the cradle with the ship on it (circa 700 tonnes) and bring it into the Ship Hall, placing it on a second prep.
The project to load in of HMS Ledbury took over 6 weeks of evolutionary planning, pulling all the key stakeholders together; this continually being driven by the load in date. To ensure the project was right first time, collaboration between internal and external parties was essential to ensure all stakeholders were on track to deliver the project on time. Yet, no one could have predicted Storm Eunice. One of the issues faced by the teams during the storm was that the JUB was initially at 6B3 bows East/West, but needed to be turned to an end on position for the spud legs to go into the holes. The high winds prevented tugs entering into the basin on several occasions in order to complete the move – it was down to the wire (about 30 minutes to be precise) from a decision point that would have had significant impact on load in and could have delayed the operation by several weeks, but the move was completed in the nick of time thanks to a massive team effort from all of the ALS team.
Thanks to each and every person involved for your support, patience and dedicated effort in delivering this project. Operationally the journey was not always an easy or straight forward one and there had to be some considerable flexibility at times to make it happen – but make it happen KBS Maritime did! We have a delighted Naval Base Commander and KBS Maritime is proud of what the team has delivered for Navy Command.