In my long-ago deep sea days with Blue Funnel, Avonmouth was an occasional port of call before heading to our home port of Liverpool after a voyage to the Far East.
I was, therefore, interested to hear that SMS Avonmouth, the South West’s leading ship repairer (part of the Southampton based SMS Group) had completed a major refit alongside in Bristol Port of Tarmac’s hopper dredger City of Cardiff. This is at the same time as the SMS Avonmouth business relocated to a new, larger footprint to meet localised demand.
The City of Cardiff was built in 1997 and has been maintained to a high standard by Tarmac ever since; the refit was completed in a dedicated, controlled berth alongside in Bristol Port.
SMS took ownership of the site, to include permits-to-work and site security, as well as the program of repair works – at all times adhering to Tarmac’s stringent, professional and proven health and safety policy. Access works included; removing and repairing hatches to machinery spaces, arranging a scaffold staircase into the hold and fabrication of a walkway around the upper funnel.
SMS then U/T’d the cargo drainer sumps, overhauled the dredge pipe sliding piece and renewed the travelling discharge hopper. The company arranged scaffolding and U/T’d the discharger gantry thereafter repairing the discovered defects. In the same time frame, SMS repaired mooring bollards and various ships side handrails.
Works included renewing gland water pipework, repairing the discharger torque arm, assisting with the dredge pump service/overhaul, repairing the trunnion carriage, replacing the discharge grab closing winch drum and de-scaling the calorifiers and overhauling the associated valves and pipework. A separate team overhauled the windlass brake, changed out the intermediate gantry hydraulic cylinder (with the pins and cheek plates renewed), changed out the drag head hydraulic cylinder with pins and renewed the cheek plate.
They installed new EMS cables and installed new energy chain cables. They also load tested fixed lifting points, renewed bulkhead skirting in the accommodation and bridge, serviced the rescue boat outboard motor, renewed F/W filling pipework and valves, made paint repairs to ballast tanks and renewed the hydraulic. Chris Lynch, the General Manager of SMS Avonmouth, said: “This is a great example of the turn-key type refit projects that we can deliver.
“By calling upon the multiple trades that we have inhouse – hydraulics, electrical, structural and mechanical engineering, all working together – we can offer our customer a competitive, efficient, solution for a small or large refit wherever they are.
“Tarmac as a customer are fantastic, and working with Bristol Port is a well-rehearsed exercise for our team in Avonmouth.”