28 Jul 2020

A&P Defence has been praised for its role in preparing RFA Argus and RFA Lyme Bay for operational deployments, as part of the UK Government’s Covid-19 pandemic response.

RFA Argus was deployed to the Caribbean as part of Operation Broadshare in early April, while RFA Lyme Bay was primed to deploy for Operation Rescript in April, under plans to support the overseas territories and the UK.

A&P Defence, based at A&P Falmouth, supported RFA Argus during an extended Assisted Maintenance Period (AMP) earlier this year with work to main engines, chilled water capability and the generators. Immediately prior to deployment, A&P also co-ordinated various urgent support tasks and further engine turbo packages, hydraulic work on cranes and davits and the support and overhaul of hospital equipment such as air generation. A&P also sourced and supplied engineering spares to provide support for an extended deployment with minimal alongside support services.

A&P provided remote engineering support for RFA Lyme Bay until Covid-19 travel restrictions made it necessary for the vessel to move to Falmouth for better access to A&P’s labour and engineering support.

Work on Lyme Bay totalled 2,000 hours in less than one week and all while Covid-19 restrictions and A&P’s strict preventative measures were in place. Work included engine servicing, a sewage treatment plant upgrade and overhaul and valve replacement, as well as providing a stores package of support items that may be required during an unsupported deployment.

Vice Admiral Chris Gardner CBE Director General (Ships) at Defence Equipment and Support, the procurement arm of the Ministry of Defence said: “Operating at pace and in the most challenging of conditions, both as the full implications of the UK COVID lockdown become clear and with the ever present engineering and logistics tests and trials that emerge in any complex endeavour, A&P once again showed themselves to be a collaborative, resourceful and supportive partner, responding to the Royal Navy’s operational priorities in a way that demonstrated the best in all of your people.”

Captain T Edwards of the RFA Afloat Support Team said: “The resilience that has been put into both ships now enables them to be deployed in areas where support may not be easily obtained for some considerable time. RFA Lyme Bay is a prime example of how the workforce at A&P Falmouth is able to react, at very short notice in order to meet potential emerging defence tasking.”

Gerald Pitts, Managing Director of A&P Defence said: “We have put a comprehensive programme of Covid-19 measures in place across the group to keep our people safe and allow us to continue providing critical support to clients like the MoD and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. It’s a privilege to have our work commended during such challenging times and to know that we’ve helped the RFA in its pandemic response.

“We would like to extend our thanks to each and every one of the A&P team, all of whom have adapted well to working under very difficult circumstances and maintained our commitment to engineering excellence.”

RFA Argus and RFA Lyme Bay are supported by A&P Defence under a 10-year In-Service Support contract for global maintenance support to RFA Mounts Bay and RFA Cardigan Bay as well as Ocean Survey Vessel HMS Scott.

A&P Group is a leading provider of ship repair, conversion and marine services and heavy engineering expertise. Operating seven dry docks and extensive fabrication facilities across four strategic locations in the UK, A&P Group also has a business in Australia that provides ship repair services and support to the Royal Australian Navy.

As one of the leading engineering business in the UK, A&P is also involved in a diverse range of fabrication and repair projects across a broad cross section of sectors including Defence, Marine, Oil and Gas, Subsea, Energy, Civil and Nuclear. Projects include the fabrication of built modules for the Astute Submarine Class and the prestigious HMS Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carriers, cable carousels, flood barriers, steam turbines, shore side access systems and FPSO upgrades.

All A&P Group facilities combine a rich heritage of marine and engineering skills and experience, providing a diverse customer base with all the precision skills needed to complete the most demanding projects.