CONSTRUCTION on a new berth which will be home to the HMS Bristol training ship starts next week.
She will be moved from her current position at the tip of Whale Island in order to give more turning room for other ships entering and leaving Portsmouth Harbour.
At the moment she is creating a bottleneck for other ships.
But she doesn’t have to go far away to solve the problem – a permanent berth is being built for her 328ft (100m) away from her current home.
When work starts on Monday she will go to a temporary berth in the naval base, and will move into her new berth during February.
Portsmouth International Port has commissioned the work, with ML (UK) Ltd, a structural engineering firm based on Whale Island, taking on the contract.
The project and has been timed to coincide with a quiet period in the navy’s training schedule.
A firm favourite with naval recruits and sea cadets, HMS Bristol welcomes up to 17,000 visitors a year.
She will be back in position, ready for duty, in February.
The ship is the only Type 82 destroyer to have been built.
She was designed to protect a class of aircraft carriers that never saw the light of day, but she saw active service as part of the Falklands Task Force.
The need to have her moved has become increasingly pressing, as more and more large commercial vessels arrive and leave – not least due to the Portsmouth International Port’s expanding cruise ship service.
Martin Putman, port manager, said: ‘It had become clear that we needed a bigger turning circle at the entrance to the port. Working closely with the Royal Navy we’ve devised a solution that will suit everyone’s needs.’
Construction of the new berth is part of the continued investment to improve facilities and keep the port competitive.
Work to lengthen Berth 2 within the commercial port itself has recently been completed, now allowing ships up to 240 metres in length to safely berth.
An programme of dredging means bigger ships can also visit at a wider range of tides.