Keeping HMB Endeavour in ship shape

Endeavour at Sydney City Marine. Image: Jeremy Colville / ANMM.

HMB Endeavour at Sydney City Marine. Image: Jeremy Colville / ANMM.

For those who follow HMB Endeavour regularly, you’ll be aware she is great deal more than a static replica of Cook’s famous ship of science. Endeavour is a ‘Regulated Australian Vessel’ with a survey that allows her to operate at sea, anywhere worldwide. Supporting that survey is a regime of annual certifications and inspections and every second year, the ship is required to be lifted from the water.

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Endeavour goes to dry dock

HMB Endeavour in dry dock

Every two years, HMB Endeavour goes to dry dock for regular maintenance—part of the requirements to maintain its survey status. On 4 June, the crew took the ship through the Glebe Island Bridge and onto the synchrolift at the shipyard. With high tide well after sunset, the evolution was conducted safely and well after dark.

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HMB Endeavour stripped bare

On 3 June HMB Endeavour headed to dry-dock for scheduled maintenance, and now as we have reached the halfway point in her docking, all is proceeding well. For the last week or so, a team of contractors have been removing the antifouling paint from the ship’s bottom and after nearly 20 years, we are back to bare timber.

HMB Endeavour replica (front) and James Craig (background) in the Captain Cook Graving Dock at Garden Island, Sydney.

HMB Endeavour replica (front) and James Craig (background) in the Captain Cook Graving Dock at Garden Island, Sydney.

A bi-product of the stripping has been dust and grit and the poor old ship looks a little under the weather. Over the next four or five days the topsides will be sanded and oiled and the underwater areas will be primed and repainted. Continue reading

MB 172 returns to the museum

This week, MB 172 returned to the museum after its annual slipping. Looking great with a new colour scheme, the vessel can now be viewed from the museum wharves.

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MB 172 on display at the museum wharves

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Vampire returns home

The day started overcast and rainy with an icy wind howling around the harbour. 

No one was looking forward to the day ahead – Vampire returning to her berth alongside at the Australian National Maritime Museum – not because we weren’t excited about her home coming after three weeks in dry dock, but the difficulties involved in towing her through the harbour in the current weather conditions.

Crew, museum staff, members and volunteers lucky enough to be returning with Vampire were cheered when the sun began to peep from behind the layers of cloud and the rain disappeared, leaving a near-cloudless blue sky. The wind was still a potential problem and right up until the last minute and it was uncertain whether or not Vampire would be able to make her journey back to ANMM!

It was all good news in the end and the wind proved to be no match for the skilled DMS tug operators who towed Vampire back to Darling Harbour and helped her berth safely and securely alongside at the South Wharf.

HMAS Vampire arrives back at ANMM

HMAS Vampire heading back to ANMM from dry dock

HMAS Vampire is set to re-open to the public this coming Saturday July 17 and the public will again be able to walk her decks and see all the hard work that our Fleet team have put in over the last three weeks.

— Kat Lindsay

Drat that bat

The bat is back!

Confused? So were a lot of people years ago in several cases of mistaken identity between two naval icons.

Rumour has it that HMAS Vendetta, a sister Daring class destroyer, once tried to pass herself off as Vampire but diligent stokers on another ship spotted Vampire‘s distinguishing feature – the bat.

In a separate case in 1971, The Royal Australian Navy News illustrated a story about Vendetta with an image of Vampire in action instead. Again, the Vampire bat is clearly visible:

Navy News article 'Vendetta bows to a Greenie'

The bat is clearly visible on 'Vendetta' (click on image to enlarge)

The mistake didn’t go unnoticed.

Here’s the apologetic article as it originally appeared in the next issue in September 17, 1971:

Navy News article 'Drat that Bat'

Drat that bat! (click on the image to enlarge)

Over time, the iconic bat mysteriously went missing. After serving in the Navy from 1959 to 1986, Vampire eventually came to live at the National Maritime Museum.

It’s 2010, and after a lot of searching by the Fleet Team, the bat is back! It’s been located and placed back where it belongs – on the AFT funnel.

The bat is back!

The bat is back!

Thanks to Todd, Christine, Vince, Trevor, Peter and Noel for their hard work.

HMAS Vampire will return to the ANMM on July 15 after an extensive underwater hull survey, restoration works and repairs to key elements of the ship by our Fleet team.

HMAS Vampire refit still going strong

HMAS Vampire, our 50-year old Daring Class former RAN destroyer is undergoing a three week refit and docking in the capable hands of Thales in the inner Captain Cook graving dock at Garden Island.

Preservation of such a large asset as Vampire is complex and as one can imagine a requirement to ensure the continued life of such an iconic vessel.

The hull, having been initially pressure-washed and cleaned to remove marine encrustation, is currently being prepped for repainting with modern anti foul. Works on the hull, below the water line, are going well including preservation and repairs to areas where there is an excessive build-up of corrosion.

Ultrasonic test analysis has been carried out to determine the condition and thickness of the hull plating, it’s all good news and she is in great shape!

HMAS Vampire refit work at Garden Island

HMAS Vampire refit work at Garden Island

Thales are also undertaking repairs to the interior of Vampire, including the aft passageway, known as 2 Lima and Wardroom flat 1 Foxtrot during the docking period. On vessels such as Vampire it is common for all areas to be known by an ‘address’. This address is a two-digit signifier consisting of a numerical descriptor that is unique for each deck followed by a letter that describes the area between each bulkhead compartment. This address allows areas to be easily and precisely identified in the event of fire or damage.

All work is still on schedule to be completed for Vampire to return to Darling Harbour’s Australian National Maritime Museum in all her glory on Tuesday July 13.

— Kat Lindsay

ANMM is now on Twitter

We’ve been excited by the amount of interest generated by HMAS Vampire’s move to Garden Island for refit and restoration work. In the last few days our Twitter followers have tweeted about spotting the majestic vessel gliding through the harbour and enquired as to her whereabouts.

If you’re not already following us on Twitter (@ANMMuseum), consider catching up with us there – it’s a great way to keep up to date with the daily comings and goings here at ANMM.

There have been new images also posted to our Facebook fan page and a new blog post will follow.

HMAS Vampire Ventures Out For Refit

HMAS Vampire, our former Royal Australian Navy destroyer left her berth from alongside the Australian National Maritime Museum on Wednesday morning at 10am. She made her way to Thales Dockyard, Garden Island under tow where she is set to undergo an extensive three week docking and refit.

Leaving the Australian National Maritime Museum

Moving an historic vessel such as HMAS Vampire is not as simple as starting the engines and setting off, three tugs are needed to manoeuvre, pull and push her as dead weight through the water. These three tugs were kindly provided by DMS (Defence Maritime Services) and we would like to thank them for their continued support of the museum. We would also like to thank the RAN for providing the pilot to move the Vampire to her dock at Garden Island.

Enroute to Garden Island

As with any vessel that spends its life in the water there is always constant maintenance and upkeep to be carried out. Some of this work can be done during the day to day running of the ship while she is open to the public but inevitably the time will come when a docking is required.

Manouvering into her dock at Garden Island

While she is in the dry dock, Vampire will have her hull blasted and cleaned to remove built up encrustation and growth and her anti fouling will be reapplied to help keep her clean for as long as possible. Inspections of the decks and hull will also be carried out and repairs made to those areas in need.

Built at Sydney’s Cockatoo Island Dock, HMAS Vampire served in the Royal Australian Navy between 1959 and 1986 and has been a popular drawcard since the museum opened in 1991. Even at the age of 50 she still turns heads when out on the harbour!

Additionally, the museum has special permission from Chief of Navy (CN) to fly the White Ensign on both HMAS Vampire and HMAS Onslow as a mark of respect for their service in the RAN and their ongoing promotion of naval history and heritage.

Vampire will return to the National Maritime Museum on Monday 5th July and will be reopening later that week.