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RFA Support Vessels

When a UK yard is struggling to build two small inter island Ferries (and I do realise there are many industrial and political reasons for that) the idea that we could enter the Cruise Ship build market is laughable!

I read this, utterly scathing about everything x from size of boat needed, to repeated design changes by customer to the decisions to include on board crew living and full restaurant service on board.


This comment was interesting too: “ The company’s strategy to fabricate and build complete vessels in Port Glasgow is quite at odds with the normal international approach. European yards nowadays mostly have the basic ship hulls built-in low-cost yards elsewhere and then float them to their yards in Western Europe for final fitting out”
 
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Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
Sigh...fishing!

The reality is it is worth a tiny fraction of our economy, the UK Lawn Mower industry is worth more. The small boat owners are private individuals buying very small boats from a small healthy UK fishing boat industry. The five families who own the lions share of UK quota sell it on to foreign owned boats meaning the largest boat in the UK fleet is Dutch owned and operated. In respect of those owners the boats they do operate themselves are large factory trawlers and they are highly mercenary about their bottom line! The largest and most modern UK owned and operated boat the Kirkella was built in Turkey.

Fishing is never however much people wish it to be going to be the basis of a solid economy!
Thanks,
As I said I know fokoll about the subject.

So the shipyards are better off building lawnmowers than launches.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Genuine question from someone with little or no knowledge of the subject: if the UK now has it's fishing grounds back, shouldn't some of the shipbuilding industry concentrate on state of the art fishing vessels and support ships, RN, HMCG, etc. ?

Innovation of specialist types might gain foreign orders - or are the overheads so high in comparison to the far east it's not worth trying ?
When my stepdad worked out of Newlyn we bought low mileage Dutch beamers for scalloping, got them for a song and lasted years, late 70’s I seem to recall.
I think the Dutch were banned from using chains and we weren’t yet
 

Fedaykin

Swinger
I read this, utterly scathing about everything x from size of boat needed, to repeated design changes by customer to the decisions to include on board crew living and full restaurant service on board.


This comment was interesting too: “ The company’s strategy to fabricate and build complete vessels in Port Glasgow is quite at odds with the normal international approach. European yards nowadays mostly have the basic ship hulls built-in low-cost yards elsewhere and then float them to their yards in Western Europe for final fitting out”

Basically steel bashing in a cheaper place, it is probably going to be the future of this kind of industry within the UK and EU.

I read a book a few years back that goes into detail about CalMac and the general waste that goes on with that organisation, its main observation was the over specified fleet of vessels. The vessels that the two new ferries are set to replace are themselves larger than required and over specified for the needs of the routes they ply. The insistence on full restaurant service and a bar for routes that are barely an hour is absurd considering most vehicle passengers are mindful of drink drive limits these days and prefer a quick Costa/Pret style Coffee with a wrap style snack than a full sit down meal. Exactly the same market forces that forced the collapse of Little Chef nationally fyi...
 
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Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
Basically steel bashing in a cheaper place, it is probably going to be the future of this kind of industry within the UK and EU.

Within limits. There is a point where the complexity of the ship means that outfit cost balloons if you try to do it in a completed vessel. For relatively simple cargo carriers, where outfit content and extent are minimal and teh majority of the cost is steel manhours and propulsion machinery, you can take that approach. It's largely what Damen does now with its Romanian yards.

However, when there are more complex systems and in particular extensive cabling and pipework systems throughout the ship, that's when it gets a bit more difficult. The labour cost in installing that sort of outfit in a completed ship is eye-watering, which is by and large why warships haven't gone down that route yet.
 

Fedaykin

Swinger
Back to FSS of the consortium bidding the Cammell Laird, Babcock, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce is the more realistic one with a chance of delivering imho. That being said as NAB will no doubt attest they will face some strong challenges and as alluded above we would be better served partnering with a cheaper foreign yard.

On a side note if the UK was seeking a partner to do the cheap steel basing of sections for final assembly in the UK I would be inclined towards the Ukraine and one of the yards based in Mykolaiv, it would fit nicely into national and NATO strategic goals, help the Ukrainian economy, enhance the chance of further defence related sales to Kiev and stick two fingers up at Putin!
 
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Fedaykin

Swinger
Partnering with a yard in the Ukraine for certain work wouldn't be unlike what Damen do with Romanian yards. I agree warships are a step too far complexity wise and should be kept in the UK.
 
I read a book a few years back that goes into detail about CalMac and the general waste that goes on with that organisation, its main observation was the over specified fleet of vessels. The vessels that the two new ferries are set to replace are themselves larger than required and over specified for the needs of the routes they ply.

You're rather missing the important, but rarely mentioned, reasons for the over-specification. Here's a hint: ability to washdown the exterior, suspiciously effective seals on the doors, ability to seal off the vehicle decks...

Basically, they were part of PYTHON, with a "continuity of Government" role.

 

Fedaykin

Swinger
You're rather missing the important, but rarely mentioned, reasons for the over-specification. Here's a hint: ability to washdown the exterior, suspiciously effective seals on the doors, ability to seal off the vehicle decks...

Basically, they were part of PYTHON, with a "continuity of Government" role.


You learn something new everyday but I am not so sure in this case, the vessels built with PYTHON in mind were launched into service in the 1960's and retired from service 32-35 years ago. Is there any evidence that their current in service replacements were built with PYTHON in mind or just over specified? Also I am 101% certain that the Scottish Government when ordering these latest two vessels with their well known opposition to the Nuclear Deterrent would have nothing to do with ordering vessels specified in a way to support PYTHON requirements if they still exist (which I doubt) rather than over specifying them.

Nice idea Gravelbelly and an interesting snippet of history but probably not relevant to the current Ferry fiasco in Scotland!
 
However, when there are more complex systems and in particular extensive cabling and pipework systems throughout the ship, that's when it gets a bit more difficult. The labour cost in installing that sort of outfit in a completed ship is eye-watering, which is by and large why warships haven't gone down that route yet.

which caught DSME out
 
The actual reasons lie in the 60s, when a combination of restrictive practices, lack of investment in productivity enhancing facilities (partly due to the practices issue) meant that UK yards became ever less competitive than their overseas counterparts. This was also followed by increases in quality and delivery in our competitors which inexorably led to a relatively poor track record for UK yards.


see John Browns where the rampant unionisation and demarcation meant it took 14 people operations to fit a toilet roll holder on a cabin wall.
 
All thus fannying around for new ships - just because the RFA thinks it has unique requirements - cant use that crane heve to have a special uber build one.

How difficult can a crane be - ships have sailed with them for donkeys years

Everyone else manages to order and convert ships - why not just buy 3 of whatever the US is buying - tack onto that otder it will be virtually free but no the RFA need to earn their seats at BMT
 
Cranes aren't the issue. Munitions stowage and various other things are.

The US "equivalent" isn't off the shelf either. Aside from the minor issue they haven't built one for the best part of a decade, so there's nothing to tack on to. The yard in question is busy, the design is owned by NAVSEA, so FMS issues and there are a couple of things the Naval Authority aren't keen on either.

I don't think BMT have any ex-RFA anywhere near their board. They're not the only UK design house in this game either.

Dry cargo ships to support strike carriers are a unique breed. No equivalent in the commercial world either. However, the big issue for UK is capacity. Real - as opposed to theoretical - capacity is limited.

That's why it's difficult.
 
Cranes aren't the issue. Munitions stowage and various other things are.

The US "equivalent" isn't off the shelf either. Aside from the minor issue they haven't built one for the best part of a decade, so there's nothing to tack on to. The yard in question is busy, the design is owned by NAVSEA, so FMS issues and there are a couple of things the Naval Authority aren't keen on either.

I don't think BMT have any ex-RFA anywhere near their board. They're not the only UK design house in this game either.

Dry cargo ships to support strike carriers are a unique breed. No equivalent in the commercial world either. However, the big issue for UK is capacity. Real - as opposed to theoretical - capacity is limited.

That's why it's difficult.

A hold is a hold its only complicated for the Uk everyone else manages it.

The US has been supporting carriers fore years yet we cannot simply follow there lead.
 

Fedaykin

Swinger
A hold is a hold its only complicated for the Uk everyone else manages it.

The US has been supporting carriers fore years yet we cannot simply follow there lead.

No a Hold is not just a hold when we are talking about FSS! The munitions that the vessel has to carry has all sorts of storage requirements, you can't just stuff them into a big space altogether. You don't want shaped charge warheads pointing towards rocket motors for example, the stowage plan is a highly complex game of 3D chess and add to that all the specialised electrical and fire suppression requirements.

The USNS version is built to US safety standards and I would also put money on their habitability standards not matching those required for the RFA to boot. They are long out of build and as already mentioned a NASEA owned design...it is a non-starter!
 
Makes you wonder how they could move all that stuff in WW2 - Oh wait loading cargo has been known about since Bjorn Ironside

It will be 3 of what the US is having - rather than some gold plated bae built crap and will fill the LSL role as the US is gifting LCAC
 

Fedaykin

Swinger
They moved it around in WW2 using regular merchantman that exploded in entertaining and spectacular ways when hit by anything that goes bang! Those merchantman were disposable as were the men who crewed them, also the munitions they carried was rather simpler and didn't have the specialised stowage requirements that something like a Paveway IV or Stormshadow does now. Sorry it is an asinine argument to make!
 
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see John Browns where the rampant unionisation and demarcation meant it took 14 people operations to fit a toilet roll holder on a cabin wall.
My dad and uncle both worked in Pompey dockyard and would tell tales of union job demarcation rules eg. an electrician had to wait for fitter to turn up to fix an electrical junction box (supplied by the electrician) to a bulkhead as he wasn’t allowed to do the job himself. Crazy.
 

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