The afternoon of 9th December 2021, a day earlier than planned, the KBS Maritime Alongside Services team successfully and safely brought in the Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier at Portsmouth Naval Base.
Four months of planning had ensued for the return of the Carrier Strike Group, who had been out at sea since March, with stakeholders from KBS Maritime, Team Portsmouth and Portsmouth City Council all involved to ensure that the Aircraft Carrier was safely docked. This included KBS Maritime’s Jason Robinson and Chris Callaway working closely with the Chief Admiralty Pilot Mr Tony Bannister MBE and the Queens Harbour Master Nick Randall to bring the Ship alongside safely. As a result of the fleet not just being led by British forces but also housing American forces too, an enormous amount of equipment, roughly 750 items, which took around a week to unload, came off the QE including ultra-secret containers which had to be handled with extreme care.
Despite the gloomy conditions, the team swiftly got the gangways on board the ship so that the staff on board could quickly come off and reunite with their families.
In true Zero Harm spirit, no incidents occurred on the day of return which is testament to not only the collaboration between Naval Base staff and KBS Maritime, but also amongst the riggers and restricted berth teams who worked in tandem with each other.
It was not only the pressure of the Ship coming in that the teams had to deal with but the many eyes of the UK media and the families of those onboard. It was therefore necessary that this high-profile event went off without a glitch – and it did!
This successful return of the Queen Elizabeth could not have happened without Jason Robinson, Chris Callaway, Paul Shutt, Lee Duffy and Martin Paine as well as all members of the Alongside Services Team.