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News

Sewage treatment upgrade for HMS Ocean


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Babcock International Group, Marine & Technology Division
: 03 June, 2013  (Application Story)
Royal Naval vessel equipped with membrane bio-reactor to replace existing waste water and sewerage system
Sewage treatment upgrade for HMS Ocean

Work has been completed on schedule in preparation for the installation by Babcock of a first of class state-of-the-art Membrane Bio-Reactor (MBR) on HMS Ocean.  This represents a significant proportion of the vessel’s current upgrade package and is an integral part of the 15 month overhaul programme underway at Babcock’s Devonport Royal Dockyard.

The new MBR replaces the ship’s existing 15 year old sewage treatment system and will be capable of processing both waste water and sewage (black and grey water, galley, laundry, sink and shower waste).  Installation of this new system will ensure that HMS Ocean leaves this upkeep period in full compliance with current and future planned IMO and MARPOL regulations due to come into force in 2015, enabling the ship to operate globally in carrying out her designated tasking.  

The project to manufacture, supply and fit the new MBR system is being undertaken in a joint approach by Babcock (responsible for removal of old and installation of the new system and equipment in the installation path) and the system Original Equipment Manufacturer Hamworthy Water Systems (providing custom built modular components, on-site fabrication of new tanks and setting the system to work).  This substantial project, which extends through the length of the ship at 7-9 deck, impacts on the upkeep schedule at every level.

Last month (April 2013) saw completion to schedule of considerable preparatory work to allow the installation phase of the new system to commence.  This has included cutting three shipping routes (approximately 2.5m2) into the hull, removal of the three redundant sewage treatment plants located forward, aft and amidships, and removal or re-routing of systems and equipment in the path of the new equipment fit.  The Mid Auxiliary Room (MAR) – the ship’s compartment most affected by the MBR installation – is now virtually empty, ready to accommodate the new system.

The scale of the installation project ahead is huge.  As well as more than 3km of constructive and mechanical fluid system pipework to be taken out and/or re-sited, over 1.5km of new MBR pipework is to be fitted between the various system components, along with over 3.7km of new cabling to be run and sealed for the new equipment fit.  New holding, collection and pumping tanks are to be fabricated & fitted forward and aft, and transfer pumps, filtration membranes, grease separators and screen presses integral to the MBR system will also be installed, along with control and monitoring equipment.  Almost every compartment of the ship will see some MBR-related work.

Babcock Warship Support SSS Delivery Director, Mike Weeks, said: “A particular challenge lies in the re-installing or re-routing of existing systems and accommodation of the new system equipment within the Mid Auxiliary Room.  3D computer modelling has been undertaken to facilitate this, with installation drawings now agreed and approved.  We are now starting installation of the MBR.  It’s a tight timescale to achieve a working system ready for when ship’s staff move on board, but good progress has been made to date by all parties involved, and work on this critical path project is currently on-schedule.  We’ll be working hard to maintain that through the installation phase.  As in all aspects of this massive upkeep period, we will be focusing on delivering this fit safely, on-schedule and at optimum value for money.”

The extensive deep maintenance programme on HMS Ocean is the first on an amphibious capital ship since full implementation of the Surface Ship Support Alliance (SSSA), under which Babcock leads the Class Output Management (COM) team responsible for delivering support to all amphibious vessels.  The knowledge and experience gained through this project will contribute to de-risking future upkeeps, most notably for HMS Albion and Bulwark, as well as helping to inform and guide the maintenance strategy for the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.

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