Dry Dock Diary – Part 1

Over the coming days we will be sharing with you full updates of all the work that is ongoing at Dales Marine Services Garvel Clyde yard.

Our first “diary entry”, however, captures the planning, organising and pre-docking work that had to be undertaken, in order to get TS Queen Mary on the blocks in Greenock.

Work began in earnest in December 2018, when the completion of the strip out (which had started in April 2017) was nearing the finishing line.

As the vessel was being stripped back it became clear that nothing that had been instated in London was worth saving, and so literally everything had to be removed space by space; a process that took over 200 cadets, apprentices and volunteers an estimated 10,000 man hours.

With an emptied ship we decided to take the opportunity to start afresh. We instructed Brookes Bell LLP, marine consultants, where the team (lead by Andy McGibbon) has a special interest in older vessels.

The first thing we had to put in place was a new general arrangement plan. Andy McGibbon (together with Simon Mackay and Luis Guarin) kicked off the process in December 2018 and the new GA was finished in early February 2019.

The next jobs were to laser scan the ship’s internal structures and then to undertake an incline and lightship survey (the later in order to start a new stability book). These were planned for and delivered in February, as you know from previous posts on this page.

This left us with several jobs that could only be undertaken in dock. The most important jobs would be the completion of a survey in order to establish exactly what steel work requires to be completed, and also the laser scanning of the outside of the hull (to complete the 3D model of the ship).

The decision was taken in April to use the opportunity when in dock to undertake all of the other improvements outlined in our announcement of 6th June (e.g. instating new scupper pipes, re-glazing works, repairs to the ship’s belting and a full re-paint of the ship).

Once the scope for the dry docking was completed by Brookes Bell, a substantial planning exercise the move began. Re-locating a Queen is no small undertaking!

In no particular order:

(1) Volunteers had to spend several weekends clearing out the last of the debris from the lower deck and then de-storing the ship. Our dedicated team of the “Two Barbaras”, Keith, James, Nicola, Gavin and Michael really do deserve a sincere vote of thanks.
(2) The on-board generator had to be stripped down and substantially rebuilt.
(3) Queen Mary was put through a pre-tow survey by A Adamson & Co.
(4) Scotia Handling Services Ltd once again donated their services and inspected all of the ship’s bitts.
(5) A full set of lifejackets, radios, pilot ladder and signal flags was procured.
(6) Hamish Munro (Clyde Marine Services) very kindly undertook all of the voyage planning and risk assessments.
(7) International Paints (AkzoNobel) attended the vessel to create a new coatings spec (and again thanks are due to Andy Airlie for his kind support and input).
(8) A whole range of miscellaneous jobs were completed (including building the new internal bulkhead and making blanks for the new prom deck windows, to protect them from the blasting work).

Amidst this flurry of activity, for almost three weeks Selman Marine and BAE Systems worked on board each day NDT testing both the hull above the waterline and the transverse stiffeners.

A crew was booked to take Queen Mary down river. Martin White (Chief Executive of Stream Marine Training Ltd) kindly assisted with compliance advice and support.

Brookes Bell generously supplied their very own Andy McGibbon and Simon Mackay as riding crew.

Captain David Howie agreed to act as barge master. Captain Howie provided his services free of charge; we are indebted to him for his very kind support.

The management team at Clydeport generously waived the cost of pilotage and supported the pre-departure process. We are most grateful to Peel Ports, to Captains Rufus Redman and Iain Howie, and to our pilot, Captain John Teale.

Glasgow Science Centre agreed to supply two of their facilities team to let go Queen Mary’s ropes and – finally – Seaforce Boat Rides Glasgow once again went beyond the call of duty to supply a free rib for the whole day, to allow us to film the move.

This gives you just a flavour of the work that went into co-ordinating TS Queen Mary’s move to Greenock. We are grateful to all of the above-mentioned supporters and corporate partners, without whom the dry docking would not have happened.