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Briggs raises its game with three new vessels

01 Feb 2009
'Kingdom of Fife' is a Damen 6114 anchor handling supply vessel.

'Kingdom of Fife' is a Damen 6114 anchor handling supply vessel.

During the past few months Briggs Marine, the UK based marine contracting and environmental services company, has made three major additions to its extensive marine services fleet. The most significant vessel in the trio is a new flagship for Briggs, a powerful anchor handling tug delivered to the company during the summer of 2008.

The remaining pair are a smaller anchor handler named the Forth Hunter and the well equipped Damen Multicat, Forth Jouster. All three have one thing in common, each is a highly versatile vessel intended to provide a wide range of services and excellent utilisation. An important part of their employment will be to support a moorings and navigation buoyage services contract with Serco Ltd, Briggs Marine's largest single contract award to date.

In 2008 Briggs Marine secured a major 15 year contract from Serco to provide navigation buoy maintenance and mooring support services for the Royal Navy. Under that £100m contract, Briggs Marine will provide support for over 350 moorings, navigation buoys and targets for the Royal Navy all around the UK coast, as well as Cyprus, Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands. The agreement required a £1m investment at the company's home port of Burntisland to provide a facility for the maintenance, refurbishment and storage of buoys, mooring systems and heavy marine equipment. A further investment of £10m was made to procure the new anchor handler Kingdom of Fife , to supplement the existing shallow draught, heavy lift craft Cameron in servicing the contract.

When the contract was awarded, chairman Robin Briggs said, 'Briggs Marine has developed a reputation for the delivery of high quality, cost effective marine contracting and environmental services work. We are delighted that this agreement will enable us to provide valuable support to the operational efficiency of Royal Navy for the next 15 years.'

Maritime Journal was able to visit the Kingdom of Fife working on naval moorings in Portsmouth harbour and the 61m tug was a spectacular sight in its blue, white and red livery. Kingdom of Fife was built by the Damen Shipyards Galatz yard in Romania to the Damen Anchor Handling Supply Vessel 6114 design. Considerable effort has gone into ensuring that this is a particularly versatile vessel capable of buoy and anchor handling, general assistance duties and towing. The tug complies with the stringent requirements of Lloyds Register +A1 Offshore Supply Vessel +LMC, UMS, Unrestricted Service, DP (AM).

Kingdom of Fife measures 61.20m in length overall, with a breadth of 13.50m and a draft of 4.75m(summer). In addition to all the facilities of a true anchor handler, the vessel also has a significant cargo capacity. The after deck has a timber protective covering, cargo rails, and an area of 300sq/m that can accommodate 500 tons of cargo. Dedicated integral tanks can accept 428cu/m of fuel oil, 225cu/m of fresh water, 345cu/m of ballast water, 307cu/m of ballast/drill water and 144cu/m of dry bulk cargo. Facilities are provided for the rapid discharge of all liquid and dry bulk cargoes.

A full inventory of anchor handling and towing equipment is fitted, including a hydraulically powered Kraaijeveld twin drum 'waterfall' style winch. The lower, forward, anchor handling drum has a maximum brake load of 180 tons and maximum line pull of 120 tons (on the 1st layer) and accommodates a 250m work wire of 50mm diameter steel wire rope (SWR). The larger towing drum has a maximum brake load of 150 tons and a line pull of 60 tons (at stall) and is equipped with 1,000m of SWR. Automatic spooling gear is fitted only on the towing drum. A single set of hydraulically operated Karm tow pins and fork with a safe working load of 200 tons is located on the after deck, forward of the stern roller.

Two hydraulic tugger winches with 20 tons line pull and two 5 tons capacity electric capstans are also from Kraaijeveld, along with the anchor windlass and mooring winch on the foredeck.

Two Heila marine cranes play an important part in the Kingdom of Fife's present role. The largest, a Heila HLRM 340-25 with a telescopic jib, is located on the starboard quarter aft and ideally positioned to support operations over the stern. The crane can be used with or without its winch and wire. Using the hook the crane can lift up to 20 tons at 14m outreach or 37 tons at 8m. With the winch the maximum lifting capacity is 30 tons at 9.5m. A second crane, a Heila HLRM 120-4, is mounted on the portside of the deck forward. This smaller crane can also be used with a winch and wire and has a maximum lifting capacity of 19.2 tons at 6.2m outreach (horizontal). Using the winch and wire, at maximum outreach of 14.2m, a lift of 3.t tons can be achieved with a single lift tackle or 7 tons with a double lift tackle.

Kingdom of Fife is powered by two Caterpillar C280-6 TA diesels with a maximum rating of 2,030Kw each at 1,000 rev/min, a total output of 5,440bhp. Power is transmitted, via Reintjes reverse-reduction gearboxes, to a pair of 2,800mm diameter controllable pitch propellers rotating within fixed nozzles. On trials the tug achieved a bollard pull of 75 tons and a maximum speed of 13.7 knots.

Manoeuvrability is enhanced with a Kamewa transverse bow thruster, incorporating a controllable pitch propeller and powered by a dedicated Caterpillar diesel of 392kW. When under manual control, or when the dynamic positioning system is in use, the engine runs at constant speed and thrust is controlled by changing pitch.

Electrical power is generated by two Caterpillar powered alternators rated at 438kVA at 50Hz, supplemented by a smaller 188kVA emergency/harbour set. Hydraulic power for the deck machinery is supplied by two heavy duty hydraulic pumps, one on each main engine.

The wheelhouse layout is typical of most large anchorhandlers with a full width control console forward and an aft control station giving and excellent view of the deck aft. The aft control station is well equipped with all necessary controls and instrumentation duplicated. A comprehensive array of modern electronic equipment is installed with communications equipment meeting the requirements for GMDSS Area 3. Navigational equipment includes two Alphatron ARPA radars (X & S band), a gyrocompass and autopilot, GPS, DGPS, a speedlog, and AIS. A full ECDIS electronic charting system and the 'single simplex' dynamic positioning system to DP-1 standard were supplied by Alphatron.

Fully air conditioned accommodation is provided for a maximum of 18 persons in six single and six double cabins. Other facilities include a well appointed mess room and galley, dry and cold storage, washing, drying and changing areas. A dedicated dive support team can be accommodated and a demountable, containerised, decompression chamber is carried.

At the time of the visit Kingdom of Fife was carrying out what is likely to become a typical operation under the Serco contract. A complex Admiralty 'class 1' mooring was being inspected and where necessary repaired. The job required lifting and inspecting each leg of the buoy moorings and its associated anchors. In common with many such moorings, designed to accommodate the largest warships and auxiliaries, some of the components in the anchor spread were made up of chains with massive rectangular links formed from square material. Such components can be awkward to handle but posed no great difficulty for the well equipped anchor handler.

In order to lift each leg of the anchor spread it was necessary to use a heavy grapnel to pick up the chain. It was then that the dynamic positioning system proved its worth. The Kingdom of Fife 's master, Captain Peter Reynolds, was able to pinpoint his position in relation to the mooring components precisely on the electronic chart and accurately deploy the grapnel. It was then possible to repeat the operation exactly, should it be necessary where the chains are buried deep in silt.

The staff employed by Briggs Marine in the Moorings and Navigational aids division are well trained to BS 6349, IALA and Serco Mooring Manual standards and can be deployed on naval or commercial work as required. Mr Iain Ross, Briggs operations manager, explained that the company are keen to increase their market share of such work and are well placed to offer such services to the operators of commercial ports. Within the Briggs group there is a wealth of expertise available to the port services sector, including marine civil engineering, electrical, and salvage work. The company now has a purpose built buoy maintenance and storage facility incorporating an ultra high pressure washing bay, fabrication and repair facilities and a self contained painting bay.

The new Forth Hunter and Forth Jouster are both capable of undertaking much of the work in that division and will be employed on naval or commercial business as necessary. Forth Hunter is a smaller anchor handling tug completed in the Far East in 2008. Like the Kingdom of Fife the Forth Hunter worked its passage home to Scotland, carrying out various assignments on route.

Forth Hunter is 37m in length, with a beam of 11.40m and draft of 4.05m. Two Cummins KTA 38 M2 main engines generate a total of 2,700bhp at 1,900 rev/min to drive a pair of four blade, fixed pitch propellers via Reintjes gearboxes. The propellers rotate in fixed nozzles to give the vessel a bollard pull of 35 tons and free running speed of 12.5 knots. A HRP 3001 transverse bow thruster, powered by a Cummins NT855 diesel, can produce 3.5 tons of thrust to aid manoeuvrability.

Towing and anchor handling equipment includes a double drum winch with a 50 tons line pull, tow pins, 'Sharks jaw' line handling gear, a stern roller and a 20 tons tugger winch. The all important deck crane is a Heila HLRM 170-4S, with a telescopic jib and winch, located on the starboard side adjacent to the work deck.

Forth Hunter has a full inventory of bridge electronic equipment and accommodation for up to 12 persons. Although a smaller and less sophisticated vessel, Forth Hunter is capable of carrying out much of the work undertaken by the larger Kingdom of Fife .

The third important addition to the Briggs fleet is the multi-purpose work vessel Forth Jouster, Completed by Damen Shipyards Hardinxveld in August of last year, Forth Jouster is a triple screw, pontoon style Damen Multicat 2611. This vessel is typical of the popular, well tried, standard design but has the added distinction of mounting the most powerful crane yet installed on such a vessel.

Forth Jouster is capable of anchor handling, towing, dredger support services, hose handling, transportation and survey operations. Its inherent versatility enables the vessel to be employed in many of Briggs project areas including the Mooring and Navigational Aids division.

The Multicat measures 26m in length, with a beam of 11.5m and a shallow working draft of approximately 3.35m. Integral tanks enable 118cu/m of fuel and 47cu/m fresh water to be accommodated and high capacity pumps enable fast discharge to other working plant if required. Three Caterpillar 3412D TTA main engines produce a total of 2,433 bhp (1,791bkW) to drive three fixed pitch propellers via Reintjes gearboxes. The Promarin propellers and fixed 'Optima' nozzles give the craft a very useful bollard pull of 33.1 tons and a free running speed of 10.5 knots.

Towing and anchor handling equipment includes a towing/anchor handling winch of 50 tons capacity and two 20 ton tugger winches. Both hydraulically operated cranes aboard Forth Jouster were supplied by HS Marine Cranes. The forward crane, a model AKC325, is capable of lifting 14.43 tons at a radius of 15.1m. A winch and wire are installed and enable 12 tons to be lifted with a single tackle or 24 tons when rigged with a double tackle. The smaller HS Cranes AKC145 HE2 installed aft has a maximum lift of 10.4 tons at10.2m outreach and is also equipped with a winch and wire capable of being rigged with a single or double tackle.

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