EXCLUSIVE – The UK Defence Journal can reveal the news that there has been an alleged incident of sabotage onboard HMS Glasgow, with claims that a group of disgruntled contractors have interrupted the fitting out process of the Type 26 Frigate by severing over 60 cables.
The suspected motive behind this destructive act is said to be an issue related to payment disputes, although this cannot be confirmed.
The reported incident had caused work on HMS Glasgow to come to a stop very briefly as investigators sought to identify the culprits and the root cause of their actions. Work resumed shortly after and crews are back onboard.
A spokesperson for the company stated:
“We uncovered a limited number of cables on HMS Glasgow earlier in the week, which appear to have been damaged intentionally.
We immediately launched an internal investigation, alongside our suppliers, and temporarily paused work on the ship to inspect every area of the vessel and ensure our high standards and quality controls are met.
Normal operations have now resumed and an assessment is underway to scope the repairs needed.”
In total and for context, approximately 23,000 cables will be installed on HMS Glasgow. They include data cables that provide a crucial role transmitting data between various systems, equipment, and personnel on the ship, and electrical cables which power the various systems within the ship.
BAE Systems, the main contractor responsible for the construction and fitting out of the HMS Glasgow, is understood to have taken the appropriate precautions and a source at the yard told me that there is likely no noticeable impact on the completion of the fitting out of the vessel. A source at the yard told me:
“Well, when the news broke about the sabotage on the HMS Glasgow, it certainly caught us off guard here at the yard. It’s not an everyday occurrence, that’s for sure.
But you know, despite the surprise, we’ve stayed resilient. We’re leaving the big decisions and responses to management, and focusing on our tasks at hand. It’s a testament to the spirit here – no matter what, we keep going. I don’t think we’ll be set back by this”.
In terms of the investigation, it will likely focus on identifying those responsible and understanding how they were able to carry out their actions. Measures will also be implemented to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
Incidents like these, while concerning, are not unheard of in large scale projects. Complex projects like shipbuilding often involve hundreds of subcontractors and a vast number of personnel, which can lead to disputes or disagreements.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said:
“Around 4.50pm on Thursday, 11 May, 2023, we were called to a report of damage discovered on a vessel in a dry dock at South Street, Glasgow. As a precaution, the ship was evacuated and enquiries are ongoing.”
HMS Glasgow entered the water for the first time at the end of last year, the frigate was moved onto a barge at the Govan shipyard before being moved downriver to Glenmallan on Loch Long.
There, the barge was submerged, allowing HMS Glasgow to float off and be towed back to the city towards the BAE Scotstoun facility, where she is being fitted out.
In addition to winning the contract for the second batch of five Type 26 Frigates, BAE recently shared exciting information about new shipbuilding academy at their Clyde shipyard.
Nadia Savage, Business Operations Director at BAE Systems, described the plans for an academy and why BAE Systems want to build it, “In the past, there’s no secret that shipbuilding, like many other industries, has gone through a cyclical kind of movement and that has had an impact on skills, not just in shipbuilding but across manufacturing in the UK generally.”