He dreamed of becoming a welder diver in order to combine an industrial activity with his passion for scuba diving. Yvonnick Basset then embarked on a training course to learn welding. "I was lucky enough to meet a keen welder who had worked on the Charles de Gaulle.” I was completely hooked.” Eleven years later, the enthusiasm is still there. You can’t get bored with welding: every repair, every material, every class of boat is different”. Adaptation is the key word! To the policies of in-service support (ISS), renewed thanks to the evolution of technologies. To the not always comfortable positions on board, and without any access to the insides of those steam or water drainage pipes that wind everywhere around the ship. To new materials, such as inconel (a refractory nickel alloy) which is widely used on the Barracuda programme. The entire welding team had to be trained and qualified for the Suffren’s first intermediate maintenance period (IE00).
“We recently did an inconel weld on a flange on board after a piece of equipment was disassembled. And we also went - with fellow welder David Valentin - to help out at another workshop to weld a cracked reinforcement in an oil tank. This kind of work is unusual for us, agrees Yvonnick Basset, but it could well happen again. The aim is to go and help any other welder on the site of Toulon, whether they belong to surface ship or submarine teams “After years spent working on the Rubis class ISS (which is not yet over!), a new chapter in the Services Division begins. Yvonnick Basset particularly appreciates all the collaborations between Naval Group sites for the benefit of the Barracuda programme. “The approach to welding is very different between new build and ISS. Exchanging with the teams in Cherbourg or Lorient informs us of the choices that have been made and the know-how used. The same applies when we talk to the nuclear welders at Nantes-Indret or Cherbourg, who have a level of requirements even higher than our own. So when ours do increase, we can replicate their processes. We are never done with learning. Welding is a permanent challenge!”