The amphibious assault ship, formerly the UK’s helicopter carrier and the fleet flagship the Royal Navy HMS Ocean is seen in the Mediterranean. (Image: MoD/Crown copyright 2016.)
The amphibious assault ship, formerly the UK’s helicopter carrier and the fleet flagship the Royal Navy HMS Ocean is seen in the Mediterranean. (Image: MoD/Crown copyright 2016.)

When equipment hire specialist Speedy Hire was approached by Babcock International, which repairs and maintains many of the UK’s warships, to provide a solution to a specialist pumping requirement, they turned to their strategic partner and pump supplier Selwood.

During a decommissioning project of the former Royal Navy amphibious assault ship ‘HMS Ocean’, Selwood was required to provide a robust and round-the-clock solution. 

Formerly the UK’s helicopter carrier and the fleet flagship, the Royal Navy, ‘HMS Ocean’ was constructed in the mid-1990s on the River Clyde and fitted out at Barrow-in-Furness. Following almost two decades of service, the Brazilian Navy confirmed the purchase of the ship in December 2017. After her decommissioning from Royal Navy service in March 2018, the ship underwent a period of maintenance at Devonport Dockyard, in Plymouth, UK.

The challenge
While in dry dock, there was a need to constantly pump seawater from the basin to the ship’s high pressure sea water ring main, forming part of the ship’s fire system. Selwood carried out a detailed and bespoke site survey in order to select the most appropriate units for the application.

The Selwood H150 high head pump was selected for high head and high volume jetting. It features a total head of 114 m and capacity of 450 m3, is capable of handling a solids size of 30 mm and has a pump speed of 1800 rpm.

A duty pump, as well as a standby pump, were supplied throughout the course of the project. Selwood specialists carried out a full, bespoke installation of the equipment, including an automatic pressure reducing valve and approximately 700 m of pipework, which mostly consisted of 8 in of flanged steel. Remote pump telemetry equipment was also installed, providing the team at Babcock International with valuable information on pump performance and fuel levels.

High-profile project
Jon Allan, project manager for Babcock International commented: “This was a very intense and high-profile project. We needed to be able to deliver and to do this we needed to ensure we had partners we could rely on to achieve this. From scoping to delivery, Selwood were extremely professional and ensured that the decommissioning was not delayed 

by installation of this pump system. The end-to-end process was managed effectively, and we are appreciative of the expertise and professionalism of Selwood’s partnership, which were crucial in delivering the ship to the customer on time.” The pump ran continuously with the pressure reducing valve regulating the pressure to 7.0 bar.

The proximity of Selwood’s branch in Saltash meant that spare parts and accessories, as well as the team’s expertise, were never far away during the course of the application.

Collaborative working
Stuart Langham, contract director for Babcock International at Speedy Hire, observed: “This is a great example of collaborative working and demonstrates our multi service provision capability. Working with Selwood has allowed us to innovate and provide a very cost-effective solution to our client’s very bespoke requirements."

Simon Finlay, pump solutions manager at Selwood’s branch in Saltash, Cornwall, said: “This was a fairly high-profile application that required a reliable and robust pumping solution. We were pleased to be able to deliver a solution to meet the exact requirements of Babcock International, including full installation and de-installation, and were delighted with the positive feedback.” The former ‘HMS Ocean’ arrived in Rio De Janeiro in August 2018. “We wish the ship every success for the future as she enters the next chapter of her journey,” concluded Finlay.