A strange green four-legged ‘monster’ has arrived in Portsmouth Naval Base to keep warships primed for front-line operations.
The £15m ‘jack up barge’ – named Typhoon 3000 by base staff – will revolutionise the way the city’s extensive flotilla of ships, from mighty Queen Elizabeth-class carriers to River-class patrol vessels are maintained.
The specialist vessel – made by Dutch company Ravestein – has four moveable legs which extend to the seabed allowing its large working platform to be lifted out of the water, creating a stable platform from which to carry out repairs and lift up machinery.
Crucially, its arrival means that smaller vessels no longer need to go in the naval base’s frigate and destroyer docks during maintenance, freeing up valuable areas to carry out repairs and speeding up the complicated process of keeping ships ready for duty.
“The barge offers the naval base a clear uptick in its capability, to improve our ship availability and deliver covered ship repairs,” said Naval Base Commander, Commodore JJ Bailey.
The barge’s arrival in Portsmouth from the Netherlands is the culmination of three months’ work between the Royal Navy and industry partners.
It will also help support engineering work on the base’s two flagship aircraft carriers, with its moveable platform able to lift to access points on HMS Prince of Wales and Queen Elizabeth.
This will cancel out the need to turn the ships around while docked in Portsmouth, which is currently done – and is known as ‘wind ship’ – to gain access to the side of the ship facing away from land.
The barge’s name is a nod RMAS Typhoon, an ocean-going tug that was the first vessel to depart for the Falklands War in 1982.
It has been named in the tug’s honour as part of the 40th anniversary of the conflict and will be officially named in a ceremony planned for April 4, the same day the original Typhoon left Portland for the South Atlantic.