Vanguard catches the tide with patrol vessel launch
31 October 2014
Time and tide wait for no man, it is said, so specialist heavy lift and abnormal load transport solutions company Vanguard ensured precision timing for the jacking and lifting of a 310 tonne patrol vessel from the Damen shipyard to the synchrolift at the Victoria and Albert Waterfront precinct of Cape Town harbor in October.
“Missing the optimal launch time of 04.30 am on a Friday morning could have meant a 28-day delay before the next opportunity, so there was no lee-way for any hold-ups or errors,” said project engineer Roland Cumings, who worked with the team from Vanguard’s Cape Town branch on the contract.
At over 50 metres long, the vessel was jacked from its cradle at the shipyard and transported by Vanguard’s 22 axle self-propelled modular trailer configuration over a distance of about five kilometres to the port. These self-propelled modular trailer configurations have the capacity to carry over 1,000 tonnes, are well suited for load-in and load-out barging operations and are steered remotely by an experienced operator.
“As the waterfront area has grown and developed, it has become busier and more built up, creating certain challenges for the movement of abnormal loads,” said Cumings. Having planned meticulously for this project, we were able to guide the remotely-operated trailer without a hitch to the destination.”
After loading the vessel at the shipyard during the Wednesday, it was moved to a holding area that night to accommodate traffic and cause as little disruption as possible. The transporting began mid-morning on the Thursday, and by the afternoon was installed on the bogeys at the synchrolift, ready for the tide in the early hours of the Friday morning. The synchrolift, situated at the Albert Basin, lowered the vessel into the water on a platform with nine pairs of synchronous, steel wire rope winches along the support jetties.
“The five days that our Cape Town branch spent to engineer the solution required by Damen ensured that all specialised equipment was mobilised on time and every detail of the operation was planned,” he said. “It allowed us to confidently meet the strict two-day deadline for this important contract.”
Vanguard’s expertise and familiarity with the environment also contributed to the success of the operation; the company has previously moved vessels in the Cape Town port, the heaviest weighing over 600 tonnes.