“We would like to visit Liverpool in May” was the message we received from a Dutch Navy submarine in April.
The commercial port of Liverpool operated by Peel Ports does not handle much in terms of warships and had not handled a submarine for over 20 years so this request was outside of the usual business scope.
Casper Defence, using their knowledge and expertise put a plan together.
The visit needed close co-operation between all parties. Not only did we need a suitable berth with adequate fendering, a passage plan and the services to assist with manoeuvring and berthing, but prior to entering port we assisted with arranging the recovery of a towed array. Casper Defence liaised closely with Peel Ports, the pilots, harbour, lock and dock control, marine operations, line handlers and towage operators ensuring everything was in place to bring the submarine safely into the dock system and alongside.
Working closely with the Royal Navy Liaison Officer the Casper Defence team carried out advance visits to the port identifying a suitable berth and assessing the risks and potential dangers faced with bringing a submarine through the locks and onto a berth.
Submarines are unique and compared to surface ships they are very different. Their hulls are tubular with the widest point below the waterline so they can not simply sit against a quay wall due to the shape and the sensitivity of their hull. Casper Defence procured specialist deep submarine fenders that were installed prior to the submarines arrival ensuring the hull did not come into contact with the quay.
Once alongside we supplied everything that the sub needed; security, gangway, fencing, shore power via a generator, dry and wet waste removal, transportation for the ships command and crew, provisions, technical stores and the supply of fresh drinking water. Casper Defence also assisted in the arrangement of a reception onboard for local dignitaries during the port visit.
The professional and knowledgeable approach by Casper Defence saw the initial apprehension from the port laid to rest and the visit was a huge success. We look forward to seeing more submarines in Liverpool!