Huge rig arrives off Portsmouth

Drilling rig in the solent
Drilling rig in the solent

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A LARGE drilling rig has arrived in Portsmouth Harbour this morning as part of preparations for the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers.

The 100ft-tall rig called Deep Diver was spotted off a foggy Southsea seafront early this morning.

It was due to arrive 10 days ago but was delayed as it underwent last-minute repairs in Southampton.

The rig will be in and around Portsmouth Harbour for six weeks, taking samples of the sea bed ahead of major dredging work in 2014 to accommodate the navy’s two new 65,000-tonne carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

An estimated 3.5m tonnes of mud needs to be dredged from the harbour before the first warship arrives in Portsmouth in 2016 and the brightly-lit Deep Diver will be working 24 hours a day, drilling 27 bore holes to a depth of 104ft.

The samples will help the navy and harbour authorities to decide what to do with all the waste mud once it has been dredged.