Her Royal Highness Princess Anne yesterday officially named the new jetty which will house the Royal Navy’s giant new aircraft carriers in Portsmouth.
The Princess unveiled a plaque at Portsmouth Naval Base officially naming the vast berth as The Princess Royal Jetty.
Formerly known as Middle Slip Jetty, the berth has been upgraded and strengthened to support two new 65,000-tonne carriers as part of a raft of infrastructure upgrades taking place ahead of the arrival of the first ship – HMS Queen Elizabeth – later this year.
Commodore Jeremy Rigby, Naval Base Commander Portsmouth said: “Her Royal Highness met some of the workers involved in the jetty’s two-year refurbishment, as well as Royal Navy bomb disposal experts responsible for safely disposing of historic ordnance.”
A number of wartime devices have been recently uncovered by dredging work in preparation for the arrival of the two new aircraft carriers.
The jetty, parts of which date back over 90 years, has been refurbished in addition to the dredging of the approach channel, inner harbor area and berth in order to make them deep and wide enough for the new ships, moving three million cubic meters of clay, sand and gravel from an area the size of 200 football pitches.
Bespoke navigational lights, a high-voltage electrical supply and specialist carrier-specific gangways, known as ‘brows’, are also being provided as part of the £100m program of works. The Defense Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has worked with VolkerStevin and BAE Systems to deliver the package of infrastructure needed for the carriers.
Last week, the giant American supply ship USNS Robert E Peary tested the strength of the new jetty by coming alongside in Portsmouth. The US ship, which despite its mammoth size is still 200ft shorter than the Queen Elizabeth carriers, was the first vessel to use the jetty since its completion.