Dunfermline Press

Tradition is observed at HMS Active keel laying

- By Ally McRoberts Reporter amcroberts@dunfermlin­epress.co.uk

IT WAS a fitting occasion as Babcock’s youngest apprentice placed a specially-designed coin under the keel of the second Type 31 frigate to be built at Rosyth.

Electrical fitter Robbie Dick, in his first year with the defence company, performed the honours at HMS Active on Saturday as workers continue the £1.25billion contract to deliver five of the warships for the Royal Navy.

The coin will be presented to the captain and crew when the frigate is ready to sail.

A number of jobs are still available on the shipbuildi­ng project, which began in October 2021, and John Howie, chief corporate affairs officer, said: “Type 31 is an incredibly important programme for Babcock, our Royal Navy and Ministry of Defence customer and for the wider UK shipbuildi­ng industry.

“Today we see first-hand the dedication and commitment from our team here in Rosyth, and we are hugely proud to be able to share this traditiona­l ceremony and programme milestone for HMS Active with our customer, families and friends.”

Inspired by the ship’s name, hundreds of Babcock workers took a pledge to ‘be active’ and set themselves an activity-based goal during the weeks leading up to the keel laying ceremony.

The time-honoured shipbuildi­ng ceremony also marked the move into the Inspiratio­n class programme’s multi-ship phase.

This will see two warships being built simultaneo­usly, with work continuing just metres away on HMS Venturer, the first of the frigates to be assembled at the yard.

Babcock employees, as well as partners and kids, attended the keel laying event ahead of a family fun day and barbecue at the Rosyth site.

Amongst the invited guests at the ceremony were representa­tives from Poland’s Miecznik frigate consortium.

The Polish warship programme, which like the UK’s Type 31 and Indonesian Merah Putih project, is based on Babcock’s Arrowhead 140 design, recently reached a milestone of its own, cutting steel for the first of three vessels.

Earlier this year a plea for extra cash - the company said they would need an extra £100m to help them cope with spiralling prices, high inflation and increasing constructi­on and material costs on the £1.25billion contract - was “rejected in full”.

Babcock are recruiting for new employees to support the successful delivery of the Type 31 programme.

The production support operative role, introduced in April last year, offers the chance for those without formal qualificat­ions to work and learn alongside experience­d engineers, welders, fitters and electricia­ns.

The company has also recently welcomed 10 new trainee welders on an accelerate­d apprentice­ship programme.

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 ?? ?? Electrical fitter Robbie Dick and coin designer Jessica Davidson, aged 7, at the keel laying ceremony for HMS Active.
Electrical fitter Robbie Dick and coin designer Jessica Davidson, aged 7, at the keel laying ceremony for HMS Active.

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