Mission accomplished – HMS Caroline in dry dock

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Back in May we bought you pictures of HMS Caroline at the heart of centenary commemorations for the First World War’s Battle of Jutland. Well, over the past weekend, the tricky phase of HMS Caroline’s hull restoration began, as Steve Prowse and his team led activities at Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Belfast to get her dry docked.

This was no simple operation! HMS Caroline is not fit to tow on the open waters beyond the Belfast Estuary and so has to be dry docked in Harland and Wolff. Unfortunately, there are no narrow docks at the yard where she can be set down on keel blocks and propped from the sides. As a result, we had to organise for her to be docked down on specially constructed keel and bilge blocks which prevent her from tipping over.

On Friday 28th October the Artelia team rolled out their dry dock action plan:

HMS Caroline was floated into the dock; water was removed so that she sat within 600mm of the blocks and detailed measurements could be taken; she was then floated out and the dock block amendments were made; then finally she was returned and set safely down to rest on the blocks.

With the press in chase boats, Artelia led and co-ordinated the large team of pilots, tugs, riggers and crew who were required for this complex operation.

Commenting on the amazing achievement, Steve said “I was waiting for someone to ask me what I was doing for the weekend but it never came ……its not every weekend you get to sail on the lone survivor of the Battle of Jutland and work with big boys toys!”.