Babcock New Zealand completed a 10 week intensive refit of the 93.5-metre displacement frigate, Vendemiaire at Devonport Naval
Base in the first quarter of this year. The 2,600 tonne vessel needed to complete the extensive work package required within a very limited time frame, in order to see her back in action and carrying out her duties by a set cut date.
To achieve this, Babcock carried out detailed pre-engineering and comprehensively planned the scope of work long before Vendemiaire arrived in Devonport with her 80 crew. Significant pre-refit preparations included the establishment of management offices, crew duty bunk spaces, storage space and ablutions for both crew and DCNS project managers and technicians and the refit represented a significant milestone for Babcocks. Though a French Navy transport vessel was refitted in Auckland in 2008 and 2011, the Vendemiaire is the first foreign navy warship to undergo refit in New Zealand.
The scope of work was carried out in both dry dock and repair berth work to ensure the full refit package met a timely completion. The refit was comprehensive; with removal of auxiliary generators, ventilation fans and motors, the replacement of mounts, alignment of engines, removal of capstans, cranes and davits, internal outfitting, preservation work, removal and cleaning of all residual fuels and oils. In dry dock, the vessel’s anti-roll stabilisers, rudder stocks, bow thruster and sea valves were removed, before the cooling and sea water system pumps and motors were overhauled, steelworks were undertaken, superstructure, decks, ballast tank space, underwater and external hull areas.
Babcock was pleased to be able to include many local sub-contractors while undertaking the work, and were able to quickly adjust and meet the requirements of additional repair work requested during the project. Despite substantial work growth, Vendemiaire’s refit was completed on time.
Vendemiaire’s officers were very complimentary about the service they were provided while in Babcock’s care, as well as the support provided to the frigate and her crew by the New Zealand Navy. We think the exceptional level of service provided by the Babcock team will encourage further foreign navy vessels to experience NZ marine quality for themselves.