The Royal Australian naval vessel HMAS Choules has undergone a successful dry-docking at the Garden Island dockyard in Sydney. The work was carried out with assistance from A&P Falmouth’s marine operations manager Nigel Fearn.
Choules is the former Royal Fleet Auxiliary Largs Bay, which underwent a major refit here before being sold to the Australians.
A&P Australia requested Nigel’s assistance as he has great experience in dry-docking procedures and extensive knowledge of the RFA ships.
Nigel spent almost a month Down Under at the Sydney naval base.
He said: “The ship’s plans were already in the base. I went down into the dry-dock to oversee the placing of the keel blocks and monitor how the ship would enter dry-dock. The dry-dock was 345 metres long and 45 metres wide. Therefore we could take the bow tug right into the dock, pulling the ship.”
He explained that he worked a five-day week, ten hours a day in the yard.
“I looked after all the external hull work, including the bow thruster repairs, grills, plugs, anodes and hull painting. Then we undocked Choules.
“It certainly was an interesting job for me 12,000 miles away from Falmouth.”
In his time off Nigel explored the tourist sights of Sydney.
On his return to Falmouth, Nigel was presented, in true docks humour, with a hard-hat surrounded by corks on string by his Falmouth colleagues.
According to Peter Child, A&P Falmouth’s managing director, Nigel now goes under the name of Crocodile Fearn.