HMS Gleaner surveys Forth estuary
The Royal Navy's HMS Gleaner is preparing for the maiden voyage of the navy's incoming aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, it was announced on 2 September.
The survey motor launch has conducted an extensive survey of the Firth of Forth estuary as part of preparation for the departure of HMS Queen Elizabeth from Rosyth dockyard in the spring of 2017. The vessel also scanned the inner basin at Rosyth, where the aircraft carrier is currently undergoing its final stages of completion.
The survey was carried out to update information on the river bed, tides and road and rail water crossings in the Forth estuary. The most recent survey data prior to this was collected 60 years ago.
HMS Queen Elizabeth has been fitted with a special main mast that can be lowered for safe passage beneath the bridges. Surveyors from 42 Engineer Regiment (Geographic) of the Royal Air Force used theodolites to measure bridge heights. The Gleaner's crew used a new laser scanner to do the same.
At the same time, the sonar onboard the vessel surveyed the main channel into the Rosyth dockyard that will require dredging before the carrier sails. It also scanned the 11.8m deep inner basin itself.
The survey took several months to complete, largely due to the new Forth Road Bridge that has affected the flow of the Forth and silt that has accumulated in the shipping channels.
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