After a three-month absence, HMS Bristol is back where she belongs – at the foot of Whale Island – after being moved to a new berth.
Tugs moved the veteran destroyer to her new berth, created to allow larger vessels to use the nearby international port.
Shielding their eyes against the bright February sun, workers await the arrival of HMS Bristol at her new, permanent berth in Portsmouth Harbour.
After three months’ work, the veteran destroyer has returned to the foot of Whale Island – but a slightly different home from when she left on November 5.
The Falklands veteran, which serves as floating accommodation and a training ship, has been moved about 140 metres (459ft) to the east of her previous mooring.
That slight move and new berth – paid for by Portsmouth International Port – creates an increased turning circle of 300 metres (984ft) for vessels using the nearby commercial facilities.
With ever-longer ships wanting to call at Portsmouth the work was vital and the port can now receive larger vessels with ease.
Portsmouth-based contractor ML UK Ltd dredged the site of the berth to seven metres (23ft) below the level of low tide. They then sank large piles, 24 metres (78ft) into the sea bed.
Each of the two ‘dolphins’ they have created to make the berth is constructed with three steel piles.
Bristol continues to provide a wide variety of training opportunities for service personnel, for example, medical staff exercise casualty evacuation routines, maritime security personnel practice board and search techniques, while marine engineers develop heavy machinery lifting and handling skills.
Last year over 5,000 training days were achieved onboard.
HMS Bristol also provides accommodation for service personnel and youth organisations. For many service men and women Bristol provides a first experience of living within a ship environment and for the numerous young people that stay onboard, she provides an exciting and realistic insight into life at sea.
“It is good to be back at Whale Island. We provide an important training asset that allows trainees to work within a realistic ship environment but without impact on the day-to-day business of the operational fleet,” says Bristol’s Commanding Officer Lt Cdr David Price.
Port manager Martin Putman added:
“We’re pleased to welcome HMS Bristol to her new berth, and thank the Royal Navy for their help in creating a wider turning circle at the entrance to the Port.
“It is already clear that our investment is paying off. We now have longer vessels able to arrive and leave the port in safety and without delay.”
Bristol was the only Type 82 destroyer ever built, designed to defend a class of aircraft carriers which were never constructed.
Since paying off in 1991, she’s become a permanent fixture in Portsmouth Harbour and is used by around 17,000 sailors and Sea Cadets every year.
Press Release, February 21, 2013