Northern Lighthouse Board’s Aids to Navigation Tender Dry-Docks for ‘Special Survey’ at H&W Belfast Shipyard

Northern Lighthouse Board aids to the navigation vessel NLV Pharos which operates in Scottish waters, is currently at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast for a scheduled dry-docking which occurs twice over a 5-year period, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Commenting to Afloat, Mike Bullock, Managing Director of the Northern Lighthouse Board, said “this is NLV Pharos’ 15 year ‘Special Survey’ which means the vessel is receiving a class survey and recertification. Maintenance work includes a complete overhaul and bearing change of the main azimuth propulsion units and tunnel thrusters, overhaul and preservation of the crane and painting of the hull”.

Pharos’ primary role is to respond to wrecks and new navigational hazards, as the vessel supports the maintenance and refurbishment of NLB’s over 200 lighthouses as well as the conduct of buoy operations.

To facilitate operations, Pharos is equipped with a helicopter pad, dynamic positioning (DP), 30-tonne crane and hydrographic survey suite.

NLV Pharos built in 2007 is based in Oban, West Scotland, from where the vessel as well as the smaller NLV Pole Star (see replacement history) work from this base in addition to serve in Isle of Man waters.

Technical operations are also carried out in Oban which provides maintenance workshops and facilities for the construction of buoys and beacons.

In addition to the Oban base, technicians are located in Inverness, Orkney and Shetland. As for the headquarters of NLB, it is located in Edinburgh with a staff of 80 people.

The NLB is one of three General Lighthouse Authorities (GLAs) as Trinity House is the authority for the waters off England, Wales and Gibraltar. While the Commissioners of Irish Lights are responsible for all waters off the coast of Ireland.

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