SuperCarriers Video about preparing Portsmouth Harbour
The MOD’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation have released a new SuperCarriers video. Take a look at the preparation work and dredging that took place in Portsmouth Harbour.
The Carriers arrival
The arrival date is still not confirmed. There were plans for the public to welcome the SuperCarriers – it was going to be during the school year. Local schools will give the opportunity to pupils to attend. There is though a chance that it might now take place over the summer months.
Always great to see a new SuperCarriers Video though!
May 2017 sees the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth, at her home base, HMNB Portsmouth. It is one of two supercarriers currently under construction, along with the HMS Prince of Wales. With a length of 280 metres, a width of 70 metres and a height above the waterline of around 62 metres, significant planning has taken place to enable it to enter Portsmouth Harbour.
The Queen Elizabeth class supercarriers will be the largest ships to ever enter Portsmouth Harbour. Surveys took place five years ago to ascertain where works would be needed to enable these leviathans to make their way through the narrow harbour entrance into Her Majesty’s Naval Base.
The channel previously had a maintained depth of 9.5m but the draught of the Queen Elizabeth class is 11m. Dredging an additional metre would need to take place, displacing over 3 million cubic metres of clay, sand and stone.
Boskalis Westminster, a local company base in Fareham won the contract for the dredging. It is a good example of how local supply chains have benefitted from the construction of the two supercarriers. There were a number of unexploded bombs from the second world war found during the dredging which were towed out to sea and detonated in a controlled explosion.
The primary channel is now complete and the surrounding area is being cleared. Further surveys will take place before the supercarriers arrive to ensure nothing has changed in the meantime.
Portsmouth Harbour and the Solent approach is one of the world’s busiest waterways. Leisure craft, naval vessels, cruise ships, ferries and even hovercraft ply the waters which means it can be quite the task to keep everything safe and minimise disruption.
Like any busy harbour, there are strict controls over which lanes various vessels may use. The problem with the supercarriers, however, is scale as the existing infrastructure was just too small to be seen from such a height!
The approach to Portsmouth Harbour saw 14 new navigation aids installed. Each rises from the seabed 30 metres tall to be closer to the eye line of the crew. They use solar power and will only display their lights when one of the supercarriers is approaching or leaving the harbour.
The National Grid will supply power to the supercarriers while docked at HMNB Portsmouth. Worldwide shipping uses a standard 60Hz and the national grid supplies 50Hz power which means the power requires converting.
The dockyard, therefore has a new substation, right next to where the supercarriers will berth. A boom arrives from Italy in early 2017 that will connect the ships. The substation connects to another substation in nearby Southsea that required the digging up of over 2 miles of road.
The new substation could provide enough power for half of Portsmouth, a city of over 200,000 people!
HMS Queen Elizabeth’s arrival in Portsmouth is scheduled for May 2017. The city hopes to provide an opportunity to watch for schoolchildren from the surrounding area.
The ships are due to have a minimum of a 50-year lifespan and whilst not the largest class of supercarrier on the planet, will allow the UK to project their defence capability around the planet at relatively short notice. They look certain to be a feature of Portsmouth and the south coast seascape for some time.
2016 could be the year that technology such as Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data finally make an impact on the Marine industry. MarineTechBlog takes a look at some of the emerging trends and some new product launches.
Riding the Big Data wave
Last year saw a large number of ‘big data’ solutions finding their way into the Marine industry. It is likely that this will grow even further and we believe that this will be 2016’s top trend.
Industry has long benefitted from machine to machine (M2M) communications but the ease of creating systems has increased enormously over the last few years with the development of the internet and lightweight protocols that allow for succinct, targeted messages to be passed between equipment. The ability to connect these devices over the internet using lightweight messaging has given rise to the IoT, which has seen rapid growth throughout 2015. Key to this growth has been the development of Analytics software that enables improved decision making.
Last week we attended Seawork 2015, held in the heart of the port of Southampton UK. There were more than 550 exhibitors present and thousands of customers attended across the three day. Attendees ranged from experienced skippers to new startup business owners.
Did Seawork feature Marine Technology?
The main reason that we attended was to see new Marine Technology. We were particularly keen to see any integration of Internet of Things type technologies, Sensors and all things digital. Whilst it is true that Seawork is primarily a ‘nuts and bolts’ kind of show, there were good examples of MarineTech on offer.
The most impressive technology that we saw was the beautifully designed and sensibly architected load analysis LW Sensor from Spinlock. Using Bluetooth LE to transmit loads to a remote tablet it is a sensible application of relevant technology that could have uses well beyond the maritime environment for which it was created.
Today we have updated the MarineTechBlog website with real-time data on current ship locations from MarineTraffic.com. This allows us to show the current position of all vessels in real-time in a given area. At the moment we’ve enabled it for the solent region of the UK but we are working to enable it based on the users location.
The site is really very well thought out. Different levels of zoom display different sizes of vessel. Clicking on any vessel shows the details as can be seen in the example above.
The south coast of England has a rich heritage in Marine history. From the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth, site of the first drydock, to the fateful maiden journey departure site for the Titanic in Southampton, there is a swathe of Marine businesses that have long held world leading positions in the development of Marine Technology.
That position has recently been challenged globally however with the development of clusters based around the adoption of new technologies by existing marine businesses. Places like San Diego in the United States or Yokohama in Japan have steadily built a reputation built on the application of those new technologies in the marine industry.
Access to information is getting easier, primarily through the internet and increasing adoption of cloud services. The ability to create and consume information is becoming easier due to the rise in Big Data and the reduction in cost for sensors. A new industry is quickly developing, The Internet of Things (or IoT for short). How is this affecting the marine tech industry?
Connectivity on the waves
Firstly, getting connectivity whilst water-borne has never been easier. Services such as MailASail mean that you never need to feel stranded when away from landline communications. Secondly, the cost of deploying systems of sensors on-board has been falling rapidly year on year. This means that you can get information about and even automate some of the processes of running a vessel.