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Part 1: Back to work for former crew of Royal Yacht Britannia

Former crewmen revisit the Royal Yacht Britannia

How many of us would go back to the place we once worked to work again - and this time pay for the privilege?

That's what former crew members from the Royal Yacht Britannia do for a week once a year. It's a sign of just how special it was to be a sailor aboard a ship which served the nation for more than 40 years.

Richard Jones joined them - exclusively on board - and this is the first of three special reports this week.

Car transporter on fire off coast of Isle of Wight

The vessel's movements have been tracked - it is off the coast of Sandown on the isle of Wight Credit:

Specialists are being winched onto a car transporter ship diverted to Hampshire after it caught fire last night, 40 miles off Harwich in Essex.

The crew on board the Courage reported the fire to the UK Coastguard at Dover Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre just before 10pm on Tuesday.

The coastguard had put the RAF Wattisham helicopter on standby, but it was not needed.

The crew used an inbuilt CO2 system to flood a large area which they believed had put the fire out and continued their journey. However because of the CO2 the corridors and areas around the deck cannot be accessed.

The car transporter is currently off the isle of Wight Credit: Darren Toogood

The vessel was diverted to Southampton. It is now off Sandown on the isle of Wight where it is being monitored by the the National Maritime Operations Centre. Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency are working together to make the situation safe.

A number of specialists from Hampshire Fire and Rescue assessment team will look at where the CO2 was used to make sure it’s safe for the pilot to get through to take the vessel alongside in Southampton.

Counter-pollution staff from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency are monitoring the situation but say it is all contained.

Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service have said that the fire is now contained and under control. Five maritime response officers from the service have been winched aboard the vessel to assess the situation.


Maritime expert speculates on why ship ran aground

The Hoegh Osaka remains grounded on Bramble Bank in The Solent

The Southampton-based Oceanographer Dr Simon Boxall has been talking to ITV Meridian about the car transporter ship that ran aground on Bramble Bank in The Solent as it was leaving Southampton. The vessel 'Hoegh Osaka' remains on its side.

A maritime expert, Dr Boxall, speculates that the ship may have been grounded on purpose because of a problem with the ship. The Hoegh Osaka's owners will be holding a press conference with more information later.

Access to port 'unaffected' by grounded ship

Operators say access to the Port of Southampton remains unaffected Credit: ABP website

A spokesperson from the Association of British Ports (ABP) which operates the Port of Southampton told ITV Meridian that access to the port is unaffected by the grounding of the car transporter ship Hoegh Osaka at the West Bramble on Saturday night.

“All shipping visiting the Port of Southampton that is over 61 metres in length has an ABP pilot on board. All ABP pilots are highly qualified expert mariners with a detailed knowledge of the navigation channels to and from the port.”

– Spokesperson, ABP, Port of Southampton

Making waves - new ship simulation facility

A maritime centre in Oxfordshire has launched the world's 'most sophisticated' ship simulator.

The marine modelling facilities will help engineers to improve the design of ships and structures such as oil rigs. HR Wallingford's UK Ship Simulation Centre and the Fast Flow Facility are at Howbery Business Park in Oxfordshire.

The Fast Flow Facility is a 75 m long, 8 m wide dual-channel flume which can hold a million litres of water, generate 1 metre high waves and produce fast tidal currents to simulate the way waves, tides, sediments and structures interact.

The new facilty features a 75 m long flume which can hold a million litres of water

"What makes the Fast Flow Facility unique is the way we can simulate sediment movement, big waves and fast tidal currents at the same time. No one else can do this, certainly not at such a large scale.

"We can now look at the way waves and currents move sediment on the seabed in deep water at a large scale, and understand what this means for fixed or floating structures such as marine terminals, offshore wind turbines, wave and tidal energy devices, telecommunication and power cables and pipelines. Modelling large structures and arrays without compromising on scale will help us to reduce uncertainty, optimise designs and more effectively minimise project risks for our clients during the very early stages of a project."

– Professor Richard Whitehouse, Technical Director of the Fast Flow Facility
Lord Heseltine launches new ship simulation facility


Ministry of Defence deal could save engineering jobs at Portsmouth dockyards

It's been reported this morning that BAE systems is on the verge of signing a £70 million deal which would safeguard 100 jobs at the dockyards in Portsmouth. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond is said to have confirmed that the contract could be signed next week.

Mr Hammond told a local newspaper that the engineering jobs would be sustained for two and a half years while work is carried out on the Navy's newest destroyers. More contracts could follow.

In November last year BAE systems announced that it would be closing its ship-building division in Portsmouth with the loss of around 900 jobs. However the company's maintenance division will remain in operation and this latest announcement will be welcome news.

The raising of the Mary Rose: the past and future

It was a triumph of engineering - bringing Henry the Eight's flagship Mary Rose to the surface 30 years ago. Protecting her since then has pushed technology to the limit

Now she's at the forefront of science again - a new museum being built to house her will be one of the most advanced in the world. Richard Jones reports on the Mary Rose - the past and future.

30 year anniversary of raising of the Mary Rose

The Mary Rose is raised from the seabed - 11th October 1982

It's thirty years since the Mary Rose was raised from the bottom of the Solent.

The Tudor warship was rediscovered in 1971 and was salvaged in 1982 in one of the most complex and expensive projects in the history of maritime archaeology.

Millions watched on television as the 437 year old wreck was raised from the deep.