Duqm Naval Dockyard (DND), the Joint Venture between Babcock International and the Oman Drydock Company (ODC), has successfully completed a four week fleet time support programme (FTSP) for the UK Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose.

For a better understanding of why this occurred in Oman, readers should note that HMS Montrose is currently carrying out duties patrolling the Gulf, keeping the shipping lanes safe and ensuring that international trade is not threatened. The ship is being based out in the Gulf for the upcoming years and works on a watch rotation basis. Every 4 months the port and starboard crew rotate. The Starboard crew of HMS Montrose is made up from sailors from HMS Monmouth.

Babcock advised that the maintenance period enabled the DND team to complete essential repairs and performance improvements, ensuring an on time on cost turnaround of HMS Montrose back to operational duties in the Gulf and Indian Ocean.

“This contract underpins Babcock’s response to the Royal Navy’s commitment to forward-deployed Task Groups. Putting greater emphasis on global partnerships and digitally enabled support solutions, Babcock’s investment with ODC to develop the Duqm Naval Dockyard for international navies, ensures it is well placed to provide sustainable support to customers. Its regional capability in the Gulf is a key component and the success of the FTSP at Duqm demonstrates Babcock’s global support to customers.

The programme incorporated repair and maintenance activities throughout the ship, with more than 250 critical elements in the scope. Extensive surveys determined a schedule of ship-wide pressure testing and maintenance, including air weapons handling systems, fire systems and ventilation. Activities extended to the hangar, flight deck and bridge, as well as throughout living quarter areas. All had to be undertaken under strict COVID regulations applying at the dockyard.”

Alastair Stangroom, Managing Director for Babcock Oman, said:

“DND’s presence in the Middle East positions us well to support critical missions and assets, enabling us to service our customers’ need for fast, effective turnarounds with global reach-back to our extensive network of expertise. Despite the obvious constraints of strict COVID restrictions, the Joint Venture team delivered HMS Montrose back to sea on time, ensuring maximum benefit in terms of cost and quality.”

Strategically located outside the Gulf of Arabia, Babcock say that DND offers customers a competitive, comprehensive facility with a full suite of modern waterside infrastructure.

“Its 2,800 metres of quayside, complete with new-build workshops and specialist-manufacturing facilities, operate alongside two 480m graving docks capable of supporting Ultra Large Crude Carriers and large Warships, allowing the most complex of programmes to be efficiently delivered.”

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Babcock’s website also indicates that there is a ‘military-spec’ runway near by and that they have provided in theatre repairs to a number of USN vessels as well.

Me thinks Babcock have made a shrewd move with this facility.

Those graving docks sound plenty big enough to support aircraft carriers. Can anyone confirm that?

Cheers CR

Ian M.

What’s a “graving dock”? I am a lubber of the land.:-)


A dry dock…


Hi CR… the graving dock appears to be 397metres in length and 88metres wide. HMSQNLZ is 280m long and 42m beam width. She’d fit in that dock easily.


Correction – the dock is apparently 480m.


The ‘military-spec’ runway near by might refer to Al Duqm International airport (about 11 miles away). not sure how much commercial activity goes on. However, its runway is about 11,000 feet – more than enough for a B-52 to take off, methinks!


I’d fully expect the dry docks to be able to hold QE or PoW given that the need to forward operate or repair the carriers East of Suez was one of the primary reasons for investing in Duqm as well as Bahrain in the first place.

Captain P Wash

Son was on her two years ago.


Is that where Gunbuster currently works?


This work was completed last year by a good mate of mine who I served with and later worked with as a civvy. It was the first FTSP maintenance package undertaken at Duqm on a T23. They usually do work on USN /USNS vessels as well as commercial vessels. Most of the work is voyage repairs for deployed USN ships such as AB’s , Ticos and Carriers with tankers and supply ships thrown in. However now that the new jetty is open in BHR we are seeing regular visits from ABs and Ticos to BHR for repair. I have undertaken… Read more »


It will be interesting to see how this facility develops. With cost effective labour and minimal union interference could this be a new cost effective solution to many more RN vessels in competition with the UK yards?

The consistently good weather also provides much easier conditions for outside work (painting etc…)


It won’t happen. Its fine doing FTSP work or mid deployment work on RN vessels but scheduled as opposed to emergency docking periods won’t happen. The MOD has a lot of enabling contracts in place for equipment and so is obligated to get the SMe on site no mater where in the world the vessel is. Even if a yard can do the work for cheaper and to the same standard they cannot bid for or be awarded the work because the contracts or Def Stans that under pin the equipment have specific clauses in them. It frustrates me immensely… Read more »


Toilet and brew vessel – tick.


Yep get the essentials right and the rest will sort itself out… You cannot underestimate how important being able to make a brew is in any of the Services.


Never understood the fascination with the Leopard 2 chassis. It uses torsion bar suspension which is cheap, when compared to the Challenger’s hydrogas. But an absolute bitch to repair as the Canadians and Dutch found out in Afghan, after being hit by large IEDs. Basically once the bottom gets hogged, the torsion bars bend and struggle to be pulled out. If it’s really bad they have to be cut by oxy. The Canadians had a Leopard 2 in a compound at Kandahar for six months trying to fix it, before it was flown back to Germany. Admittedly the IED that… Read more »


Only ever rode a Scimitar that was with one of the Ships affiliated regiments. The leopard is of a similar vintage to Ch 2 . As lordtemplar says the UK is getting observer status on the Franco german project to see if its worth joining. Until that comes to fruition ( if it ever does) the only game in town is CH2 upgrade.