The 27th new Tamar class lifeboat was handed over to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) by Babcock today (21 May 2013), marking the last lifeboat to be built for the charity by Babcock under the existing contract.
The 16 metre Tamar class slipway-launched lifeboat, originally developed by RNLI designers with Babcock, represented a major step forward in lifeboat design, being one of the most technically advanced lifeboats in the world. The first prototype was built at Babcock’s Devonport Royal Dockyard facility. The contract for build and fit-out of the first batch of four Tamar class lifeboats was awarded to Babcock in 2003, and was followed by subsequent contracts won in stiff competition. The latest batch of nine was awarded in 2009, and concludes this month with this latest delivery.
The lifeboats have been built by Babcock at Devonport on a pulse production line, with each boat taking 11 months to build, from initial hull delivery to completion of sea trials, with a new boat starting every 12 weeks and up to four in progress at different fit-out stages at any one time. Significant improvements were also made during the course of the contract by Babcock introducing new methods to meet the challenging financial targets set by the RNLI with each contract awarded.
RNLI Head of Construction and Refit Angus Watson said: “A delivery plan for the last batch of nine Tamar class was agreed five years ago. Babcock delivered every one of those lifeboats right on time to that date in our diary. That’s a job well done. All those at Babcock who worked on building our entire fleet of Tamars should be very proud of the part they’ve played in saving lives at sea both now and for many years to come.”
He added: “The RNLI has been very happy with the top quality work on these lifeboats. It has been exceptional and has provided extra reliability for the volunteer lifeboat crews who use them when they launch on a rescue.”
Babcock RNLI Project Manager Steve O’Mara said: “We are delighted to have delivered the 27th Tamar class lifeboat to the RNLI today on schedule, and to a very high standard. Our staff are meticulous in their work, and this quality counts when a lifeboat is battling through a force 10 to reach someone in trouble at sea. We are very proud of our excellent record in delivering on-time and to quality throughout this contract with the RNLI.”
This last Tamar class lifeboat will be stationed at The Mumbles in South Wales.