HMS Forth is having major rectification work performed, with the vessel she replaced being brought back into active service.
Earlier in the year, it was reported that issues with new Offshore Patrol Vessel HMS Forth would be rectified within a few weeks, this did not happen as the defects appear to have been far more serious than feared.
HMS Forth has been found to have more than 100 defects, including electrical and safety issues.
Our contact, currently serving in the Royal Navy and involved with the programme, tells us that the ship has been handed back to BAE due to “the very poor standard of build”, BAE however advise that this has not happened.We were told:
“For example bolt heads glued back on (thousands over tightened) high voltage switchboard very dangerous, life rafts failed to launch, wiring sub standard, galley not secured… list is huge. It’s much worse than what they released. Captain of the ship and higher rankers had a meeting with BAE, MoD etc. I’m surprised nothing has been said else where with it being first of class. They reckon 3 months to rectify, I reckon much more.”
UPDATE: We had reported that HMS Forth was to be dry docked to rectify issues and that she had been handed back to BAE Systems, BAE have since told us that this isn’t correct.
“There are no plans to dry dock HMS FORTH as the rectification works on-board the ship do not require dry docking.
In order to gain access to areas of the ship to complete rectification work we have taken over the care and protection of HMS FORTH for a short period. This is standard procedure when maintaining a ship for the Royal Navy.”
We also understand from our contact that the entire Batch 2 River class programme has been set back due to this, with the second vessel in the class having supposed to have started sea trials in October last year but is currently still alongside at the BAE yard in Scotstoun, Glasgow.
Our contact explained what’s happening with HMS Tyne and the other, older Offshore Patrol Vessels.
“However as Forth is a long way from being ready and with these new problems, Tyne is being reactivated and the other OPV which was decommissioned is going into refit.
Safe to say its all very political and no quick way to solve the issues. The whole OPV Batch 2 project has now been delayed to the quality issues.”
“And BAE will be getting the bill for getting HMS Tyne back operational” he added.
HMS Forth is the first of the five new Offshore Patrol Vessels being built to replace the current River Class vessels. The vessels had been ordered to fill a gap in orders after the second carrier and before the Type 26 frigate build started.
A BAE spokesman said:
“We are actively supporting the Royal Navy to resolve issues around a limited number of bolt fastenings and the electrical system on HMS Forth. These are unrelated issues and investigations for each are now underway to ensure that we resolve any potential impact and establish the cause. We are committed to delivering equipment that meets rigorous safety and quality standards.”
An MoD spokesman added:
“It is normal for us to work with industry partners to make some rectifications to ships once they have been handed to the Royal Navy BAE Systems is already at work on some areas as we work together to ensure HMS Forth goes on to tackle piracy, safeguard our fishing stocks and protect our coastline.”
HMS Forth had been earmarked to replace half-sister HMS Clyde as the Falkland Islands Guardship and is currently alongside in Portsmouth undergoing repair work.