HMS Ocean docks for £65m refit

HMS Ocean moving in to dock to commence her re-fit being carried out by Babcock Marine

HMS Ocean moving in to dock to commence her re-fit being carried out by Babcock Marine

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SUNDERLAND’S adopted warship is set to undergo a £65million refit.

HMS Ocean, whose officers and ratings were granted Honorary Freedom of the City status in 2004, played a key role in boosting security at the London 2012 Olympics as well as the Nato mission supporting pro-Gaddafi forces in Libya.

Now the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced that the Royal Navy’s largest warship, which visited Sunderland again this year, will undergo a major upgrade.

Work on the helicopter carrier will secure more than 600 UK jobs.

Her upgrade will be carried out at Devonport Royal Dockyard, in Plymouth, and will be the largest upkeep programme of its kind to be carried out at the docks in more than 20 years.

The contract has been awarded to UK maritime support specialists Babcock, safeguarding 300 jobs in Devonport.

More than 70 contractors are also set to be involved in the project, securing a further 300 jobs across the UK.

During the refit, which is expected to last 15 months, upgrades and improvements will be made to her radar, gun, command system and living quarters.

About 1,200 metres of new pipe work will be laid and almost 100,000 litres of paint will be applied to HMS Ocean.

Philip Dunne, Minister for Defence, Equipment, Support and Technology, said: “HMS Ocean plays a crucial role supporting operations as we saw during the Olympics and the Libya campaign and it is essential that we continue to invest in the upkeep of this formidable vessel.”

HMS Ocean was moored on the Thames during London 2012 and provided essential security support and a home for hundreds of military personnel responsible for venue security.

It also played an integral role in the Libya campaign, launching Apache attack helicopters from her deck to attack Libyan ground defences, the first time Apaches had been launched from a Royal Navy warship.

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho