The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) provides logistical support to the Royal Navy, all over the world. That includes refuelling its warships, at sea.
RFA Tiderace entered service in 2018, and is the second of a fleet of four 39,000 tonne Tide-class tankers. Altrad were engaged to provide a temporary roof and erect a full encapsulation scaffolding to provide a weather envelope for refurbishment works to the helideck of the vessel.
The structure was required to provide a dry and temperature-controlled environment to allow for the application of new protective coatings for our client, Cammell Laird.
The provision of design and the erection and dismantling of an encapsulated structure over a flight deck is something the Altrad team have undertaken on behalf of Cammell Laird many times and could be considered “normal business”. However, in this particular case Cammell Laird and Altrad were presented with some very challenging circumstances:
- The structure supporting the temporary roof could not create any contact points on the helideck, as this would have hindered the refurbishment. The temporary roof, was therefore supported via double uprights attached to the hull kicker plate and restrained by utilising five tonne ratchet straps which negated the requirement for contact points.
- To facilitate the planned vessel movements, the project was required to be erected in two stages. The scaffolding support structure and roof framing, minus the encapsulation, was installed in the initial berth, this allowed the vessel to sail directly into the second berth without obstruction.
- In addition, the project was executed the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which required additional social distancing and welfare arrangements to be introduced.
The Altrad team met these challenges successfully for Cammell Laird, which in turn allowed them to deliver their project in a timely efficient manner.