Babcock has completed a contract to undertake a substantial refit on Bibby Offshore’s dive support vessel (DSV), Polaris, at its Rosyth dockyard. The project was Bibby’s largest ever refit package and underlines Babcock’s move to expand its role in the maintenance and refitting of complex oil and gas support ships.
The Bibby Polaris vessel is one of Bibby’s international fleet consisting of eight subsea support vessels, including the most modern fleet of DSVs in the North Sea. The refit was a statutory five year class renewal and maintenance period, and included major packages of work undertaken and supported by Babcock on the dive bells and dive systems, thrusters and engines, fresh water and cooling systems, underwater valves, crane maintenance, structural work on moonpool hatches, lifeboats and davits, and accommodation upgrades, as well as a full topside and underwater paint package.
Babcock’s focus on offshore vessel refit and repair sector at its Rosyth dockyard is part of a move to diversify into complementary markets where it can apply its considerable ship maintenance and support skills and experience to the benefit of commercial customers.
Babcock Commercial Marine Director David McGinley pointed out that the company’s pedigree and expertise in ship maintenance and support are particularly valuable in supporting a sector in which the window of availability for refit is relatively short and seasonal, thereby helping customers in the sector to maximize operations within the annual cycle. He said: “In the case of the Bibby Polaris, for example, we de-mobilized the vessel on completion of its latest dive program in preparation for the docking period and were able to offer valuable flexibility in the docking date to suit the vessel’s changing schedule.”
He added, “We have an on-going working relationship with the Bibby Line Group, but the refit of the Polaris vessel is our first significant project supporting Bibby Offshore. By providing our services within sectors such as oil and gas we are able to apply our considerable skills and expertise, as well as optimizing our infrastructure and resources, maximizing efficiency and keeping costs down for our customers within the tight timescales they work within.”
Tom Paling, Global Fleet Operations Manager for Bibby Offshore commented, “The Bibby Polaris docking was both a complex and intense project with a very large, varied scope to be completed within an agreed timeframe. The facilities at Rosyth are very good and it is in close proximity to our normal operating area, minimizing large deviations.”
He continued, “We have a very open relationship based more around partnership as opposed to a customer-client dynamic. The team at Babcock were customer focused and flexible in dealing with a changing vessel schedule and meeting our requirements.”
The Bibby Polaris undocked last month (February) on completion of the successful refit by Babcock.