Scott free of water as survey ship dry docks

THIS is what the Royal Navy’s largest survey ship looks like high and dry.

Just ten days after returning from an Atlantic deployment – during which she spent three months continuously at sea without putting into harbour – HMS Scott has begun a revamp in Falmouth.

The 13,500-tonne vessel is used to hoover up information from the oceans to assist both Royal Navy operations and seafarers around the globe – the latter by updating maritime charts.

Scott was away for nine months, much of them spent in the South Atlantic, including a spell in the unforgiving waters between South America and Antarctica – Drake’s Passage – and a couple of months in the Falklands Islands.

As a result the 130m/430ft hull needs some cleaning and maintenance, among other work required in the hands of Cornish shipyard A&P, before Scott returns to sea later this year to resume her survey work.

Entering dry dock is complex for any ship and with this entry being in the middle of the night it was especially important that everyone was focused on the task and that we didn't make any mistakes.

Navigating Officer Lieutenant Charlotte Eddy

The ship had to enter the dry dock at high tide – 2am, luckily both the sailors and A&P dock around the clock – and then carefully manoeuvre into place over specially-positioned blocks which would suspend her over the dock bottom once the water was drained.

That operation alone took six hours, before the sluice gates were opened and the water pumped out, allowing engineering teams a rare opportunity to asses, maintain and clean these usually-submerged sections of the hull.

“Entering dry dock is complex for any ship and with this entry being in the middle of the night it was especially important that everyone was focused on the task and that we didn't make any mistakes,” said Navigating Officer Lieutenant Charlotte Eddy.

“The whole ship's company had a role to play ­– we had an early night before waking up at 2am to man our stations and start work.

“This was my first time navigating a ship into dry dock and it was a great experience. The most interesting part was going down into the dock itself once all of the water had been drained out. We all know Scott is a large ship but you really see just how large she is once she's out of the water and exposed completely.”

The ship’s overhaul will be carried out by a mixture of ship's company, a special team from the MOD’s DE&S support organisation and engineers and technicians from A&P Falmouth.