Warren Access

HMS Severn – Denholm Wilhelmsen

Background of the Job

The HMS Severn, the ninth and current of its name, is a River-class offshore patrol vessel of the British Royal Navy. Named after the River Severn, the ship is the first to bear the name in 56 years.

We were contacted by Ian Purves of Denholm Wilhelmsen requesting our advice and recommendation to access the lights at the top of the 30m main mast of the HMS Severn. The ship is to be berthed at the Spillers Quay in Newcastle while on a short break from maritime patrol and surveillance in the North Sea.

Site Survey

As the ship isn’t yet at the Quay, we had to research the ship dimensions, the quay and look into the affects the river and weather would have on the quay side.

Photos and images were used to help us determine the height of the machine required for the mast, with measurements gained from various online sources.

The ship is estimated to be berthed approximately 2m from the edge of the quay, the mast is in the centre of the ship which we have allowed approximately 3m for.

Other factors such as the river levels (tide in/out), the ships stores (if the ship is fully stocked and fuel tanks full, it can sit lower in the river than if it were empty) and the weather on the Quay side were all taken into account, to determine the maximum height and outreach required for the ‘worst case’ and the minimum for the ‘best case’ scenarios.


A 35m Truck Mounted Platform has the height and outreach required, however this would be the best case scenario:

  • River levels high
  • Ship fully stocked
  • Little or no wind along the quay
  • Our measurements are confirmed

Through the Access Alliance we have access to a much larger fleet – Blade Access have a Bison Palfinger TKA 35 KS which fits the criteria for this scenario.

Also available through Blade Access is the Wumag Palfinger WT450, this machine would be suitable for the ‘worst case’ scenario:

  • High Tide
  • Empty stores
  • Further outreach than estimated.

Job Details

Denholm Wilhelmson put their costs forward to the Navy and the choices we offered for the machines, the 45m was chosen for practicality and time constraints – the job needs completing and they agreed worst case scenario is on the safer side.

Blade Access was then contacted and their 45m machine plus operator was booked.

On the day of the hire, the 45m truck was unavailable and therefore Blade Access sent their 48m Palfinger P480NX which was more than capable for the requirements.

Upon arrival at the site, the Operator was met by members of Warren Access and the Naval Officer conducting the repairs.

The emergency lowering procedure was explained to ground staff and a brief conversation between operator and customer to confirm their requirements and best place to set up the machine.

The operator and Naval Office then got to work, starting with the main mast light bulbs and cables.

The machine was more than effective at reaching right up to the required height and across for the repairs to be conducted – the customer decided to take the opportunity and get more maintenance completed while they had the use of the machine. The extra outreach and height provided them with great maneuverability around the ship allowing them to complete all of their ‘at height’ maintenance swiftly, safely and with ease.

Customer Testimonial

“HMS Severn was visiting Newcastle on a operational stand-off from Maritime Security and fishery patrol duties and took the opportunity to conduct some routine maintenance whilst alongside.  The cherry-picker hired from Warren Access Ltd was ideal for the purpose and the ‘Blade’ engineer was professional and courteous in his assistance.  Job well done, thank you.” - Local Naval Office

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