VESSEL REFIT | Lady Jean – Naval patrol boat converted into floating clinic for Tanzania’s coastal communities

Photo: The Vine Trust
Photo: The Vine Trust

UK defence firm the Babcock International Group has completed conversion work on a former patrol boat that was once operated by the UK Royal Navy to enable it to serve as a floating clinic for areas lacking in medical infrastructure.

The Vine Trust, an Edinburgh-based international volunteering charity that supports impoverished and isolated communities in Tanzania and Peru, will be the new operator of ex-HMS Scimitar, one of two former Scimitar-class fast patrol boats that served with the Royal Navy from 2003 to 2022. The vessel was rebuilt by a team of volunteers into the recently renamed Lady Jean.

<em>HMS</em> Scimitar <em>underway off Gibraltar, September 8, 2016 (Photo: UK Ministry of Defence/PO PHOT Ray Jones)</em>
HMS Scimitar underway off Gibraltar, September 8, 2016 (Photo: UK Ministry of Defence/PO PHOT Ray Jones)

The 16- by 3.1-metre vessel underwent a complete overhaul to enable it to operate as a platform for medical consultations. Other upgrades included the replacement of the generator, the rewiring of electrics, the servicing of the engines, and the installation of new seats and air conditioning. The grey hull and superstructure have meanwhile since been repainted with high-visibility white and blue to reflect its new non-combatant function.

Also fitted are a Raymarine radar and galley equipment from Caterform. Paint from International was used for the exterior surfaces.

Lady Jean will be deployed to Lake Victoria, where it will serve as a platform for providing consultations and medicine distribution services for residents in some of the isolated island and coastal communities in Tanzania. The Vine Trust expects that the vessel will serve in this role in the region for 20 years.

The former patrol boat is the second vessel Babcock has converted for The Vine Trust following the 35-metre medical ferry Forth Hope, which was handed over to the charity in 2017.

Lady Jean
Type of vessel:Medical clinic boat
Owner:The Vine Trust, UK
Builder:Babcock International Group, UK
Length overall:16 metres
Beam:3.1 metres
Other equipment installed:Caterform
Accommodation:Clinic space; galley
Operational area:Lake Victoria, Tanzania

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